Karun Chandhok, one of the very few Indians to make a mark in the world of motorsport car racing, has been recently appointed as the ‘heritage driver’ for Williams F1. The new role will see the racer behind the wheels of the iconic cars that have been a part of Williams F1 history, for testing and exhibition purpose.
Born in Chennai, Chandhok is a multiple time racing champion himself. With racing being an integral part of his family right from his childhood, he was destined to be a race car driver himself. He started off his career in 2000, at the tender age of 16. He was the Indian National Racing Champion for the year, winning seven out of ten races in the Formula Maruti series. In 2001 Chandhok was the Formula 2000 Asia champion, becoming the youngest ever Asian Formula Champion, driving for Team India Racing.
In 2006, he became the champion of the first ever Formula Asia V6 by Renault Championship, taking part in 12 races, winning seven of them and taking the pole position in nine. Chandhok then ventured into the world of GP2 Series in 2007, driving for Durango. Chandhok's first win in GP2 came at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. Chandhok got the biggest break of his career with a call-up from the Red Bull Racing Formula One team to test for them over two days at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
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He drove for iSport International team in the 2008 GP2 Asia Series season. After winning one race and finishing tenth in the championship, Chandhok was presented with the series' "Best Driving Style" award at the end of the season.
With the creation of the Force India team in 2008, Chandhok’s name came up in the fray as one of the team’s drivers. However, he didn’t make the team. His moment came the next year, as in 2010 Chandhok made history, becoming the second racer after Narain Karthikeyan to be a part of the glittering world of F1 racing, as he represented the Hispania Racing team, alongside his GP2 teammate Bruno Senna.
Chandhok will now take up his new role as the official driver for William’s Heritage division, making his debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where he will drive up the iconic Goodwood Hill behind the wheel of an FW08C from 1983 and an FW13B from 1990. As part of his new appointment, he will also play the part of a driver coach to customers who have made a purchase of a running car, and run it and maintain it with the help of Williams Heritage.
Talking about his new appointment, Chandhok said, "Williams is such an iconic British team, steeped in racing history, so it's a real honour to be involved in its Heritage programme. So many of the Williams Heritage cars are pieces of racing history with great stories to tell. So to be offered the chance to get up close and personal and drive them - sometimes being the first person to do so in decades - is an incredible opportunity. I look forward to not only demonstrating the cars from time to time, but working with other Williams car owners to help them fully enjoy their experience of driving these pieces of F1 history."
Williams Heritage director Jonathan Williams said: "With a wealth of experience in a wide range of championships, including Formula 1, GT, LMP1 and Formula E, Karun was the ideal candidate to be our Heritage driver.”