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The MRF Challenge 2018-19, one of Asia’s premier single-seater racing series, is all set to return for its seventh edition starting this weekend. Dubai Autodrome will play host to the opening round of the series from November 15-17. The second round is set to take place in Bahrain from December 6-8 and the final round of the season will be hosted in MMRT in Chennai from February 8-10, 2019. A total of 15 races will be held in three rounds. The series is organised by Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC). The race cars are built by JA Motorsports in collaboration with Dallara.
In case you were wondering, JA Motorsports is the motorsport outfit of Jayem Automotives, which had recently captured headlines with the launch of the Tata Tiago and Tigor JTP. Both these cars are a result of its 50:50 JV with Tata Motors to form JTSV. J Anand, managing director, JA Motorsports, who built the car in technical collaboration with Dallara, said, “We carried out lot of improvements for last year. From the data we collected, we have only refined the aerodynamics package for this season. Apart from that, the car remains the same as last year.”
Mechanically, the cars remain the same as last year – the race cars are powered by a 2-Litre Mountune Duratec engine producing 230bhp and it comes mated to a 6-speed sequential gearbox with integrated dash and paddle shifters.
Making his debut in the MRF Racing Challenge is Chennai based Chetan Korada is the lone Indian to take part in the racing series. A regular in the Indian National Championship and one of handful of racers in the World competing with a prosthesis leg, Chetan said, “I have been racing in India for over a decade now and I thought I should step outside to race in higher categories. The MRF Challenge car is far more comfortable in terms of space for leg movement than the F1600 I have been driving in India. My target for MRF Challenge is to be in front. I am putting in lot of time on the simulator at home, besides daily gym work. So, I feel I am fit and ready for MRF Challenge.”
Other racers in the grid include Dylan Young from Australia, who has been participating in the championship since its inception, Danial Nielsen Frost from Singapore who returns for his second season in the series and Michelangelo Amendola from Belgium. The final list of drivers will be announced once the documentation process is complete.
On the 2018-19 season of MRF Challenge, Arun Mammen, vice-chairman and managing director, MRF Tyres said, “It has been an exciting journey for us as we present the seventh edition of the MRF Challenge which, among other things, offer young drivers a platform to showcase their racing talent. We provide identical cars to all the drivers and so, the key differentiating factor is the driving ability. It has also been our constant endeavour to develop the car which is now among the fastest single-seaters in Asia. The MRF Challenge also offers us rich data that in turn helps us to develop further the MRF Z.L.O. slicks and wet tyres. The positioning of the MRF Challenge in the winter months between November and February also offers an opportunity for drivers across the World to keep themselves race-fit during the off-season. As such, we have had some very exciting talent taking part in the MRF Challenge over the years and it will be no different this time around.”