The Madras Motor Race Track gets an overhaul
“There’s no point in sitting back”, says Vicky Chandok. He is right too, while everyone was locked in to their homes, Vicky and the live-in staff at the track followed the SOPs highlighted by the government and continued to put in work to make sure the track is maintained well. The organisers also used this opportunity to upgrade certain aspects of the track. As restrictions eased in certain aspects, the track was then opened up for the industry pool to start testing their vehicles and components on track. Soon after the government opened up sporting arenas for training purposes and that meant the track too could be open for track days — a form of training.
Open track days
While open track days aren’t particularly new in the grand scheme of things, India hasn’t really had a properly ‘open’ track day. Yes, the BIC does have multiple open track events but with an entry fee north of Rs 10,000 for a session, it isn’t really accessible to everyone. Moreover, it is suited to high-performance machines, and your daily driver will probably be out of breath very soon at the BIC.
The MMRT’s track days have multiple sessions for cars and bikes, priced at Rs 4000 for a half day session if you bring your own car. That would comprise of 3 or 4 sessions of about 25 minutes each. You can also ‘arrive and drive’ Volkswagen’s fleet of (older) Polo Cup cars for a fee of Rs 9000 for a 25 minute session, which includes fuel, tyres and a mechanic to help set up the car for you. The track is super fun, very approachable for beginners and the open track day is gaining in popularity by the day. In fact, the month of September was possibly the most active the track has been in the past year. And in October too, the track is already busy for 20 days, with a chance for more events to be added soon.
The only requirements for an open track day is an ISI approved helmet for riders and drivers (as well as pillions/passengers if any), and a proper leather biking suit for riders. The leathers can also be rented from the track itself.
You can get all information related to open track days at the MMRT here.
You can also become a member of the MMSC (Madras Motor Sports Club) which will significantly reduce costs of track days and events around the track. For example, a member only has to pay Rs 2500 for a half day open track day session. To enter, you simply need to apply, after which you are put on a watchlist for a year. In that year you simply need to participate in MMSC activities 5 times. This includes open track days, races, volunteering as a marshal, volunteering in other areas. The club just wants active members that are keen on helping out and shaping the future of motorsport in India. You can get more information on the membership by reaching out to the MMSC at — .
“The marshals are absolutely thrilled” exclaimed Vicky when I asked him about the new marshal posts littered around the track. The new posts are better designed, and closed off from the elements and if you’ve been baked in Chennai’s sun, you would know that’s a great plus point. Other changes include a self-sustained drag race control room, placed at one end of MMRT’s drag strip, equipped with communications and networking facilities, air conditioning, a washroom and a good view of the start line. A plus point for us is also the new media and commentary room, which also gets great seating, internet connectivity, live feed from the race, and a sound proof room for high quality commentary. The cameras covering the track have also been upgraded to high definition ones, to improve the quality of the livestream.
Last but not the least, MMRT’s main straight will also get its own grandstand! This was something requested by spectators as well as manufacturers, and the organisers have delivered. Another addition coming in the near future will be digital flags, which will mean that lesser marshals are required on the track and bright screens with information on the track situation are easier to spot for the drivers too.
The track layout has remained the same, but with the inauguration of a new building for spectators close to C4, the track can now have the east and west short loops running two different events simultaneously. There’s also a rally cross track ready to go, a rally track around the circuit which could host sprint rally events in the future, and Vicky was a bit hush on another fantastic addition coming to the facility very soon. Stay tuned for more information on that!
The MMRT has always been at the centre for motorsport in India. We’re glad to see the track is being utilised to its maximum potential and the organisers encourage people from around the country with varying skill levels and machines to come down and experience a track day. As a petrolhead, a track day is one thing you must do and with the lockdown eased up, Chennai makes for a great road trip destination, as we found out on the Tata #ThrillofDiesel drive.