Besides the ongoing construction, there are even rumours of the track being prepped as a possible venue for future Formula 3 races
The Kari Motor Speedway, named after the late, great Sundaram Karivardhan (circuit racer, rallyist, racecar designer, and maternal uncle of Narain Karthikeyan, no less), has held a position of reverence for track junkies. Sure, it may not have the wide, flowing corners of an MMRT or the sheer scale of a BIC, but it has held its own in terms of one quality alone: technicality. Its sudden, sharp corners kept riders (and drivers) on their toes, as even the smallest miscalculation can play hob with one's lap times.
So, when we heard news of ongoing construction at the track, we chalked it down to routine resurfacing or maintenance in preparation for the upcoming motorsport season. However, a closer inspection revealed another matter entirely!
So what’s new?
At first glance, we see three main changes to the track’s layout. First, the fabled 800m main straight, which has in the past served as even a runway for gliders, has been somewhat truncated to about three-fourths distance, with the first two newly minted corners a sharp left-right chicane. What follows is an approximate 100-to 150-metre straight into Corner 3 (the old Corner 1) which is now a sweeping, less pronounced right, narrowing into a right-left chicane.
The next sector is once again a straight. At the end of the straight, however, the ‘kink’ (the mild right-left chicane) is a lot less pronounced, as it no longer leads into the sharp left-right that it did before, opting now for a short straight and a mild right, followed by a comparatively longer straight leading up to the famous ‘Mickey Mouse’ (or ‘Bermuda’), a decreasing-radius left followed by an equally daunting right which opens up to a sweeping right and what is now a much longer straight.
We now move to the final sector of the track, which ends up rejoining the start-finish straight. Previously, post the short straight (after the right corner post Mickey Mouse) was a parabolic (semi-circular) right, colloquially called ‘Bowl’. Said corner, courtesy it being classified as a double-apex corner, was especially dear to motorcyclists, as the long, long time on one side gave many a rider a chance at their first ever knee-down. Now, though the bowl has been restructured, it boasts two rights followed by a perfectly semicircular left. Knee-down on both sides then? We hope so!
What to expect
There are rumours of the rebuilding being aimed at satisfying Formula 3 eligibility. We can only wait and watch at what materialises there. What we can say, though, is the Kari Motor Speedway, in one fell swoop, has become a bit more user friendly while still holding onto its ‘technical’ credo. Further details, however, can only be divulged when we sample the track for ourselves.
Hey Ed, how about a track day then?