Wallace Sports and Arka Motorsports to set up all new class at Indian National Car Racing Championship

The motorsport powerhouses have come together in a venture aimed at greater participation from motorsport debutants and enthusiasts, with the promise of a race-ready car and team
A golden chance for aspiring motorsport enthusiasts
A golden chance for aspiring motorsport enthusiastsMMRT / Wallace Sports

The Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) has, for the longest time, had the concept of Arrive and Drive, which gives the average enthusiast the chance to get acquainted with a race-ready machine. This, in turn, can ideally act as a fillip for motorsport. However, the prohibitively high cost of participating for an entire season, coupled with the time, effort and cost of arranging a racecar and then assembling a competent team of mechanics to maintain said car have been the usual deterrents. But that won’t be the case for too long, courtesy Coimbatore-based Arka Motorsport and Chennai-based Wallace Sports.

Vicky Chandhok, who helms Wallace Sports has hinted towards starting an all-new class – specifically aimed at youngsters – at the Indian National Car Racing Championship. We spoke to him, and here are the details we know thus far:

How did the idea come by

“Narain (former Formula 1 racer Narain Karthikeyan), Leela (famed rally car driver and tuner N Leelakrishnan) and I, in our minds, want to give back to the sport, “ said Vicky, adding, “We want to go back with a feel-good factor.”

Who can participate

The competition is, as mentioned, aimed primarily at youngsters, and will be a sort of starting platform, with the only stipulation being that the candidate should have an FMSCI Competition license. In the long term, though, the criteria could be altered to those who have competed, but haven’t yet won any saloon car championship. Additionally, those who perform well enough could then easily progress towards higher levels of competition, namely the Indian Touring Car Championship (ITC) or the VW Polo Cup.

At the moment, both Wallace and Arka will source drivers, with the expectation of 25 drivers on the grid.

About the cars

The cars will be identical, prepared and run by Arka Motorsport, and owned by Wallace Sports. Considering the estimation of 25 drivers on the grid, there are already 25 cars fully prepared and ready for competition.

Competitors can make basic changes to suit themselves, like changes to the seat position, steering position, brakes pdeal position. The drivers can also tweak the cars to their particular driving style, in case they find the cars are oversteering or understeering. However, no major changes will be allowed, as then the cars start going into the next category, like the ITC or IJTC (Indian Junior Touring Car) championships. “The idea, says Vicky, “is to keep everything as minimal as possible, so that as a newcomer, the driver can focus on just driving, and perfecting their racecraft.

Additionally, Vicky said how the 2020 championship saw five winners out of six races, proving the equality of the cars, all of which have been individually prepared and tested by Arka. And, Vicky drives home the point, saying, “This time we got Arjun Narendran, a past ITC saloon car champ to test all the cars, and they were all within 0.2 seconds of each other!”

How’s that for a level playing field!

Costs involved

Vicky says the costs will be Rs 1.25 lakh per round, or Rs 3.25 lakh for the entire championship of 10 races (or three rounds), plus taxes, entry fees and championship registration fees to the organisers. Besides, there will also be a security deposit of Rs 50,000.

So when do we see the action unfold ?

As mentioned, ten races have been planned for 2021, spread across three weekends scheduled for July, August and September 2021, all of which will be held at the MMRT.

The name for the championship has not yet been decided, though it will tentatively be named after the sponsor; something like the MRF Saloon Car Championship, or the MMSC Saloon Car Championship. The championship will run on the same days as other national championship, with prize money similar to the other classes. The competitors can carry their own branding on the car, with mandatory branding being that of the organisers and Arka.

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