CHENNAI: In what may spell bad news for the Indian motorsports scene, the national karting championships has lost its main sponsor for the upcoming season. JK Tyre has been sponsoring the National Rotax Max Karting Championship for the past 13 years, but won’t be associated with the series from this year.
FMSCI president Akbar Ebrahim confirmed the news to SS. “We are looking at new sponsors. It may take a bit of time as it is not easy to replace your main sponsor this late. But somebody else will definitely come in. There is a lot of interest in this and we should be able to bring somebody on board soon.
We are now floating offers to companies,” he said. “We don’t think this year’s championship will be affected by this. As a matter of fact, the championship looks very strong this year. We will also be instituting two or three different type of formats, as well as two more titles.”
But Sanjay Sharma, JK Tyre’s head of motorsport, indicated that they were not entirely happy with the results that the karting series were producing.
“We are re-looking at the whole thing,” he said. “We are trying to understand how to improve it. The last two years, we did not have a single new entry in Rotax. And having a healthy series is crucial as our entire crop of drivers come from karting. But things are not happening the way we want them to.
“Even in this year’s Formula BMW championships, we have only two or three new drivers,” he added.
“That is a series that we spend an insane amount of money on. But who are we investing in, if there is no new crop? So we are just reorganising ourselves and we’ll see what happens.” Sharma also revealed that the development did not mean JK Tyre’s presence in the national karting scene would be diminished. “Last year we started the IndiKarting series.
If we go away, there’s going to be a problem. Obviously there is no other sponsor. If you look at the last ten years, nobody else has been supporting karting. Even this national karting, let us see what new thing happens. Just because of this pressure, the organisers have started trying to get their act together, do new things.”The national karting championships have proved a fertile training ground for the likes of Jehan Daruvala and Arjun Maini, who have since graduated onto racers in the FIA Formula 3 championships.