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The first edition of the X1 Racing league will include both male and female drivers of varying skill levels, with big names such as Narain Karthikeyan, Gaurav Gill and Arjun Maini to race for Chennai, Delhi and Bengaluru respectively
The much-anticipated drivers draft for the inaugural edition of the X1 Racing League, India’s first franchise-based motorsports league was held on November 11. The league will have 30 international and domestic racers being part of six teams. Mathias Lauda, son of the late F1 driver Niki Lauda, was picked by the Delhi’s AD Racing, with former F1 and current Super GT driver Narain Karthikeyan, Le Mans and F3 contender Arjun Maini, and multiple-time INRC and APRC rally driver Gaurav Gill racing for the Chennai, Bengaluru and Delhi teams.
The league will kick off on November 30 at the Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, with the next race on December 7 at the Madras Motor Race Track, Chennai and will have four drivers and two cars in each team. Of the four drivers in each team there will be one international male, one international female, one Indian driver with wins at international level and one of two domestic racers. The races will be held as per the rules of a one-make championship and will last for 30 minutes, with driver changes after a stipulated time span
Team Black Birds Hyderabad were the first to pick in the draft which started off with India’s international racers in the first round, they chose Akhil Rabindra. Next was Team Bangalore Racing Stars who chose Arjun Maini after which Mumbai Falcons chose Arjun’s brother Kush Maini. The others picked in the round were Krishna Mahadik by DG Racing (Ahmedabad), Gaurav Gill by Team AD Racing (Delhi) and NK Racing (Chennai) auto-picked their team owner Narain Karthikeyan.
In the male international racers draft, Bengaluru were the first pick, choosing British racer Oliver James Webb. The other male international racers included Malaysian Alex Yoong (Ahmedabad), Austrian Mathias Lauda (Delhi), China’s Frankie Cheng (Chennai), former Italian F1 racer Vitantonio Liuzzi (Hyderabad) and Danish Mikkel Jensen (Mumbai).
As both male and female drivers would be racing against each other, it was important for each franchise to make sure they had a strong female racer as well. The first female international racer to be picked was Denmark’s Michelle Gatting by Bengaluru, with English racers Pippa Mann and Alice Powell joining Mumbai and Chennai, Switzerland’s Rahel Frey going to Ahmedabad, Denmark’s Christina Neilsen to Delhi and Poland’s Gosia Rdest to Hyderabad.
On the domestic roster were Arjun Balu and Yash Aradhya (Chennai), Raghul Rangaswamy and Ashwin Datta (Delhi), Chittesh Mandody and Ameya Walavalkar (Ahmedabad), Sohil Shah and Karthik Tharanisingh (Mumbai), Nayan Chatterjee and Vishnu Prasad (Bengaluru) and Arjun Narendran and Anindith Reddy (Hyderabad).
“All teams are equally balanced and look strong. Since the cars are of the same make, it will be up to the drivers to show their skills and win the race for their team. We can’t wait for the racing to begin,” said Armaan Ebrahim, co-founder, X1 Racing League.
“Some of our domestic Indian drivers will get a chance to rub shoulders with the best of the best. This is a chance for the domestic racers who were picked in the draft to make it to the next level and prove themselves against established International drivers,” said Aditya Patel, co-founder , X1 Racing League.
Below are the team-wise names of the racers
Akhil Rabindra (India International),
Arjun Narendran and Anindith Reddy (India domestic)
Antontonio Luizzi (International)
Gosia Rdest (Women international)
Arjun Maini (India international)
Nayan Chatterjee and Vishnu Prasad (India domestic)
Oliver James Webb (International)
Michelle Gatting (Women international)
Khush Maini (India international)
Sohil Shah and Karthik Tharanisingh (India domestic)
Mikkel Jensen (International)
Pippa Mann (Women international)
Krishna Mahadik (India international)
Chittesh Mandody and Ameya Walavalkar (India domestic)
Alex Yoong (International)
Rahel Frey (Women International)
Gaurav Gill (India international)
Raghul Rangaswamy and Ashwin Datta (India domestic)
Mathias Lauda (International)
Christina Neilsen (Women international)
Narain Karthikeyan (India international)
Arjun Narendran and Yash Aradhya (Indian domestic)
Frankie Cheng (International)
Alice Powell (Women international)i