Chennai: High on excitement and expectations, the MRF-MMSCFMSCI Indian National Car Racing Championship-2021 commences on Saturdayat the MMRT behind closed doors due to Covid-19 safety restrictions with a card of nine races and 76 competitors in the fray.
Returning to the championship after a season’s break due to the pandemic is MRF Formula 1600 class which will headline the two-day programme with an a12-car grid, followed by the ever-popular saloon cars in three categories, the top-end Indian Touring Cars, Indian Junior Touring Cars and Super Stock. Also in the mix is the Formula LGB 1300 which boasts a grid of 25 cars.
Volkswagen will run their one-make championship with a grid of 22 VW locals, all kitted with a 1.8-litre turbo engine putting out 235 bhp and a six-speed gearbox operated by paddle-shift levers, besides the push-to-pass mechanism which is a first in Indian racing. Lining up on the grid are four racers from Bangladesh and a lone female entry in Diana Pundole, a mother of two, from Pune.
Chairman of the meet Vicky Chandhok said “Given the situation and the challenges we all faced and still dealing with due to the pandemic, the positive response to the four-wheeler championship has been overwhelming”.
Formula LGB 1300, for instance, has a grid of 25 cars and 22 in the VolkswagenPolo championship. “We also welcome MRF F1600 back in our midst after missing the 2020 season due to the pandemic”, he said.
“Lest we forget, the saloon cars, with a combined grid of 17, will certainly mark their presence. Equally laudable is that our title sponsors MRF are providing slick tyres.
So, with better grip, we can expect close and exciting races this weekend”, he added a field for the JA Motorsport-prepared MRF F1600 that includes a few experienceddrivers like Ashwin Datta, Deepak Ravikumar and Nikanth Ram among others. The cars have been completely overhauled and readied for this weekend’s triple-header.
In the saloon car category, Coimbatore veteran Arjun Balu, driving a Race Conceptsprepared Honda City VTec, is looking forward to defending his National title in the Indian Touring Cars class that also has two VW entrants in Anindith Reddy and 2019VW Ameo Cup winner Jeet Jhabakh, both from Hyderabad, and driving 1.8 Litre turbocharged Polo.
The IJTC also returns to the championship after missing out two seasons, while the super Stock, among the most competitive, is expected to dish out close battles asIn the previous years.
In the Formula LGB 1300 category, an incentive by way of a Rookie Cup for the highest-placed first-timer in each of the races, is on offer.