National Racing 2018: MRF F1600, Ameo Cup season opener at Coimbatore. Leela & Balu return to the ITC grid.
Photo Credit: Chinmoy Banerjee
As in the previous seasons, the MRF F1600 winner at the end of the championship comprising 12 races over four rounds, will earn the right to participate in the Mazda Road To Indy shootout in the United States. The winner of the shootout will be eligible for a scholarship of USD $200,000.Coimbatore, June 21: Packed and quality grids will feature the second round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Racing Championship commencing at the Kari Motor Speedway here this weekend which will also witness the opening round of the Volkswagen Ameo Cup.
The MRF Formula Ford 1600 will no doubt headline the programme. It boasts of a 14-strong line-up featuring established racers like Raghul Rangasamy, Kolkata’s Arya Singh, who last year won the Formula LGB 1300 championship, Karminder Singh, the 2017 VW Ameo Cup champion, Karting graduates Yash Aradhya and Nayan Chatterjee, besides Sandeep Kumar, the 2017 first runner-up.
Chairman of the MMSC championship Vicky Chandhok said: “At this juncture, we must appreciate and acknowledge MRF’s long and committed association with motorsport in India, be it rallying or racing or motocross. It is thanks to MRF that we are able to run the racing championships, both cars and bikes, as they supply top quality tyres for all participants. Participation in motorsport has also helped MRF to develop World-class tyres as could be gauged from their success in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and now the World Rally Championship. Also, as title sponsors, MRF Tyres have helped Indian motorsport to grow and thrive.”
The weekend card also includes the ever-popular saloon cars that will be competing in three categories – the premier Indian Touring Cars, the Indian Junior Touring Cars and the Super Stock besides the Esteem Cup – and the Formula LGB 1300 which, like MRF F1600, joins the National championship from this round.
The ITC grid has been considerably strengthened as two Coimbatore veterans 54-year old Narayanaswamy Leelakrishnan (ARKA Motor Sports) and Arjun Balu (Race Concepts), 43, both former champions, have thrown their hats in the ring. Leelakrishnan, who returned to racing after a gap of 17 years in 2011, sat out the 2017 season while Balu is staging a comeback after a lapse of five years.
In the first round in February this year, Bengaluru’s Ashish Ramaswamy (ARKA Motor Sports) won two of the three races to tally 50 points and will be looking to consolidate, though the competition will be far stiffer this time.
Volkswagen Motorsport India has finalised 19 new drivers who will take part in the 2018 Volkswagen Ameo Cup. All the VW Ameo cars will be fitted with MRF tyres. The list for the upcoming season includes two female drivers while Yash Ojha from Lucknow is the youngest on the grid at just 19 years. Like last year, there is one entry from Bangladesh who will lend the event an international flavour.
The Ameo Cup champion will be decided over 10 races during the season and there will be two categories, Pro and Junior. At the end of the season, the winner of the Ameo Cup Pro class will get a sponsored drive in a higher category of racing, while the winner of the Junior category will be offered a sponsored drive in the next season of the Ameo Cup.
As per the schedule, Friday has been set aside for practice sessions followed by qualifying and races the following two days.