India's first internationally certified go-kart track
There’s exciting news for motorsport enthusiasts in the country. MMRT, the home of Indian motorsport now has a brand new grandstand that can accommodate upto 850 spectators. No longer do you have to be confined to the viewing decks in the pitlane or ask for special permissions for access to nicer viewing spots around the racetrack. That’s not it, MMRT now also houses an internationally certified go-kart track!
In conversation with ed Sirish Chandran about the ongoing upgrades to the MMRT, Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC) vice-president Vicky Chandhok revealed that a brand new grandstand is nearing completion and an internationally certified go-kart track is in the pipeline as well. The MMSC has been gearing itself up for the ‘new normal’ as per the government’s protocols for all motorsports arenas and along with that, authorities are also addressing the long-felt need of a permanent grandstand along the start-finish straight, facing the eastern paddock and pits.
The new permanent start-finish straight grandstand is 130 metres in length and has been planned to accommodate 850 spectators, but keeping social distancing in mind due to the pandemic, the spectator count was reduced to a little over 500. Depending on how the country recovers from the pandemic, the authorities will decide when the grandstand can retain its capacity of accommodating 850 spectators.
The progress of the grandstand came to a halt due to repetitive lockdowns, delaying completion by four months. But the construction progressed rapidly after the lockdown ended, and now only a few final touches are remaining, including final coats of paint.
Internationally certified go-kart track
Last year, Vicky Chandhok gave us a hint with the statement “we also have plans to actively promote the sport at the grass-root level by putting up suitable facilities, the details of which will be announced later.” He surely had a surprise for Indian motorsport enthusiasts. While explaining the progress of the grandstand, he inadvertently said “The bottom rung of the stand can be developed later on as a paddock area and the storage area for the go-karts.” When asked that a certain go-kart track is also in planning? He confirmed by saying “Yes, that certainly means that,” followed by a chuckle.
He also confirmed that the go-kart track has been designed by Driven International with advice from Karun Chandhok. The drawings’ approval has already been done by the international body. The proposed track length will be 840 metres or 890 metres, to meet the FIA and CIK standards where the required minimum length of the track is 780 metres and a maximum of 1200 metres. The track will be right at the entrance, between the main track and the public highway. The contractors' quotations have been obtained but due to the pandemic, the progress is at a halt. “We are hoping to start probably after monsoon, possibly in September,” adds Chandhok.
Chandhok also mentioned that, “this will be the first approved international certified track. Sure we have the Asia zone in Coimbatore but that's on a temporary license for the race or the event and is not a permanently certified track. This will be a fully certified go-kart race track.”
Like most other sports, the Indian motorsport movement also took a huge hit during the lockdown with delayed races and a calendar that risks from being revised one too many times. But this announcement is a shot in the arm for motorsport enthusiasts in the country and we cannot wait to try out the new go-kart track and eat popcorn sitting in the new grandstand while enjoying some high-octane races.