MUMBAI: The X1 Racing League, a brainchild of Indian international drivers Armaan Ebrahim
and Aditya Patel, is all set to take off. Having pared back the city-based franchise League to only two circuits and no road races, as initially announced, the Racing League will be held at the Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, on November 30-December 1 and at the MMRT, Chennai on December 7-8.
While most other sports have taken the league road following the success of cricket's Indian Premier League, this is the first time that such a competition has been launched for motorsports in the country.
"We are aiming to set a gold standard for the ecosystem in India and make motorsport accessible to all," said Ebrahim, 30, who represented India at the A1 Grand Prix and F2 circuit. "It's a huge opportunity for the aspiring racers from India to make their mark."
Five team owners (a total of six teams) were unveiled in Mumbai on Wednesday and headlining the act was India's first F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan, who is at the helm of the Chennai franchise. Joining them will be teams from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Pune and Hyderabad.
One of the more unique aspects of the league is that it will feature mixed teams: each team will consist of one international male, one international female, one Indian international and one domestic driver. Each team will have two cars on the circuit on race day; all races will be 30 minutes each and there will be
three unique team-based race formats per day. The third race of the day will be a relay format, where each of the four drivers will get an opportunity to race.
While none of the Indian drivers have been disclosed yet, there will be some interest in international competitors Mathias Lauda and Freddie Hunt. Their fathers, Nicki Lauda and James Hunt respectively, are not only former F1 champions but made up one of the most epic rivalries in the sport.
Also joining the League are former Italian F1 driver Tonio Luizzi, Alex Yoong of Malaysia and China's Frankie Cheng. Switzerland's Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Christina Neilsen of Denmark and England's Pippa Mann and Alice Powell, and Poland's Gosia Rdest make up the international female drivers' list.
A draft is expected to take place at the end of the month for teams to pick their choice of drivers.