Racing Team India will take its first step on the road to the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend when it makes its debut at the season-opening round of the Asian Le Mans Series in Dubai.
India’s Racing Team To Make Debut At Asian Le Mans Series
The all-Indian racing outfit-Racing Team India, will be spearheaded by Narain Karthikeyan (India’s first F1 driver & Padma Shri Awardee) along with Arjun Maini (former F2 & European Le Mans racer) and Naveen Rao (2020 IMSA Prototype Challenge Champion).
A lot depends on the team’s showing at the Asian Le Mans, as it will set the foundation for their entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will take place in June 2021 as the winners of the Asian Le Mans series, automatically get an invitation to the main 24-hours of Le Mans – which is what Racing Team India have their eyes set for.
The first two runnings of the four-hour races will be held at the Dubai Autodrome on the 13th and 14th of February. The races will then move to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit for another round of the two and four-hour races. This will be held on the 19th and 20th of February
Team India’s weapon of choice for the Asian Le Mans series JK Tyre Motorsport. Fielding the Le Mans-winning Oreca07 with technical support from reigning Asian Le Mans Series champion team Algarve Pro Racing, Racing Team India has already displayed a promising turn of speed. The car has a 4-litre V8 engine which produces 600bhp and has a top speed in excess of 320 kmph.
Padma Shri Awardee and India’s first Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan said,
“It is an incredibly proud moment for me to be representing our nation’s first all-Indian endurance racing team. I have flown the flag for our country across various motorsport disciplines from Formula One to NASCAR and SuperGT racing. I’ve raced at the Le Mans series races before, and it was an incredible experience, one which I always wanted to repeat. However, I couldn’t have imagined anything better than to compete there for an Indian team.
I’m extremely grateful to the ACO(organizer) for giving us the platform to compete. They have been incredibly supportive from the first time we approached them, and this support has been instrumental in getting our team up and running.”
Naveen Rao (2020 IMSA Prototype Challenge Champion) said,
“As for the weekend ahead, I’m looking forward to it. Arjun, Naveen, and I have considerable racing experience between the three of us. Our package has also been quick through testing.
We did have some issues on the second day with traffic and difficulty in switching on the new tyres. But there’s a lot of speed in the car and I’m confident we can deliver a strong result on our debut.”
“My entire career has been spent racing sports cars and for me, Le Mans is the absolute pinnacle of competition. I have spent a long time dreaming about one day driving in this iconic event and I am grateful for the opportunity to do it for a team representing the country in which I have my roots.”
“I’ve got a good feeling for the car, the three of us have struck up a strong relationship and I believe we genuinely have a package that can help us fight at the front.”
Arjun Maini (former F2 & European Le Mans racer) said,
“Firstly, it’s great to be back behind the wheel again, and to be flying the colours for an all-Indian team makes the experience even more special. Endurance racing is a format I’ve come to enjoy during my time racing in the European Le Mans series. I believe it plays to my strengths as a driver.”
“It feels strange to think that of the three of us I have the most endurance racing experience. I’ve competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and I can tell you it’s an incredible feeling. I’m really looking forward to going back there.”
“We have a strong package, a proven driver line-up and with support from Algarve Pro Racing, who I know well, I believe we have all the ingredients in place to make it happen.”
Sanjay Sharma, head, JK Tyre Motorsport said, “At JK Tyre we have been steadfast supporters of Indian motorsport over almost five decades.
Not only have we created a robust domestic motorsport ladder but we have always been extremely proactive when it comes to identifying, grooming, and supporting the international racing careers of some of our most talented racers, such as Narain Karthikeyan and Arjun Maini.
Now, with Racing Team India we have yet another chance to create history for Indian motorsport. We are confident the team has what it takes to be successful and race at Le Mans which would deliver the breakthrough that Indian motorsport needs.
All the best to Indian racing team from team Autobizz !!