JK Tyre has not let domestic motor sport politics get in the way of its plans of running a racing championship for the 16th straight year.
Even the newcomers to India’s relatively small racing fraternity don’t take long to become fairly cynical. The staging of two Formula 1 races and 2012’s Sidvin Festival of Speed allowed many to look beyond the cynicism though. The chief source of it being the dogged insistence of this fraternity breaking up into factions based on deal making, difference in opinions etc.
However, it seemed like a thing of the past, especially after the Federation of Motor Sport Clubs of India (FMSCI) decided to merge the varying classes of racing across the JK Tyre and MRF roster.
It sure would have made travel for coverage easier! However, as things stand, JK Tyre has decided to press ahead with running its racing championship by itself following a falling out with the FMSCI.
Sure travelling has become a pain and the cynicism is re-enforced but it’s still racing at the end of the day, which is what counts.
The Delhi based tyre company’s partnership with Volkswagen Motorsport India has seen the JK Tyre Racing Championship tweak its line up with the Polo R Cup, Formula LGB4 and JK Racing India Series (JKRIS) - with Formula BMW cars - now featured on the schedule.
The final category has, predictably garnered the most interest among racing fans and media as the FB02 cars that were previously only seen in India at the Buddh F1 circuit made their debut at India’s first purpose built racetrack for the first two rounds of the championship at Coimbatore.
Even more so as the drivers that raced them featured in the LGB4 cars as well. While the LGB4 cars are not yet particularly advanced - and have been involved in some scary looking incidents - they gave the drivers racing mileage.
It was also a sight to see the likes of Vishnu Prasad – who swept all three second round JKRIS races – Ameya Bafna and Chittesh Mandody set about the task of getting through three 15 laps races in each category; tired, sweaty but ultimately happy at getting the chance to exercise heavy right feet on a weekend.
The LGB4 has been referred to as a work in progress, especially as far as its bodywork is concerned. One hopes that it will be modified enough to give drivers an even better entry point from karting to racing.
The entry point to saloon racing, on the other hand, seems to be pretty well covered with the Polo R Cup. The cars are up to scratch and drivers keep getting encouraged to make their own way as far as sponsorship is concerned.
The racing remains good too with a rivalry emerging between South Africa’s Jeffrey Kruger and Rahil Noorani.
Although the entry fee seems to have bumped the Polo R Cup a notch above entry level with Toyota’s Etios Motor Racing series having taken that slot.
At the end of the day, it’s still all racing.