A star-studded lineup of Indian drivers, including Narain Karthikeyan, Arjun Maini and Naveen Rao, will spearhead Racing Team India’s campaign in the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series in February, with an eye on competing in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in France later in the year. Racing Team India shall create history by becoming the first team of all-Indian drivers to compete globally in the world of endurance racing, according to a press release from the team on Tuesday.
The Asian Le Mans Series, to be held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on February 5-6 and February 19-20, comprises of four races spread over the two race weekends, with each race lasting four hours. The Indian team will drive an ORECA 07 car in the LMP2 class, and have technical support from the Championship-winning Algarve Pro Racing Team.
Padma Shri Awardee and India’s first Formula One driver Narain was delighted at getting another shot at Le Mans. “I have been dreaming of going back to Le Mans for a few years now. This is probably the most exciting project in my career as a racing driver,” Narain said. “We have a young and fledgling team and it will no doubt be a big test for us, but I am confident of doing well,” he added.
Gautam Singhania, who is a member of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) World Motor Sport Council and is also an accomplished racing driver himself, will lead Racing Team India.
Bangalore-based Arjun Maini’s experience in endurance racing will come in handy for the team, having driven for Algarve Pro Racing Team in the 2020 European Le Mans Series (ELMS).
He knows what it takes to do well in a competition like this and vows to focus on doing his job by taking little steps. “I am glad to be back to racing so soon after the 2020 European Le Mans season, and I do believe that Algarve Pro Racing Team, the defending Asian Le Mans Series champions, gives us the best possible chance of securing an entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Naveen Rao, who is the reigning 2020 IMSA Prototype Challenge champion, looks forward to driving as part of Racing Team India. “I’m super excited to be partnering with Narain and Arjun to bring the first-ever Racing Team India to Le Mans! Le Mans has a magical quality and is the dream of many kids to be a part of.”
Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, CEO of the Asian Le Mans Series, welcomed Racing Team India into its fold. “Having an Indian flagged LMP2 team is not only a first for the Asian Le Mans Series, but it is also a first for ACO racing around the world. We have a growing supporter base in India, and now they have a team to support! I wish the team all the best and look forward to seeing them in Abu Dhabi.”
Racing Team India is also very proud to be associated with JK Tyre, as one of our inaugural partners. JK Tyre has been and continues to be the largest supporter of Indian motorsport for over 50 years. They have been instrumental in developing and supporting both Narain and Arjun over the past two decades and their commitment to the Racing Team India program demonstrates their commitment to the future of the sport as well.