The JK Tyre-FMSCI National Racing Championship 2018 will create history in its 21st edition, unveiling an all-women’s team in its opening round set to start at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore on Saturday.
The six ladies who have been selected after a nation-wide talent hunt will represent Ahura Racing, with a celebrity driver in the form of Maharashtra actress Manisha Kelkar, leading the charge against the big boys of racing.
“We are proud to welcome an all-women’s team into the JKNRC,” Sanjay Sharma, JK Motorsports head, said. “We are confident that this will usher in a new trend, attracting many more ladies to motor sports,” he added.
As many as 25 top drivers, including last year’s champion Chittesh Mandody (Avalanche Racing) and former winner Vishnu Prasad (MSport), will be fighting for top honours in this category. Sandeep Kumar (Dark Don Racing), who finished just two points behind Chittesh last year, will also hope to do one better this time.
JKNRC’s blue riband event, the Euro JK 18 will pit the country’s top 11 racers against each other, in what promises to be a fast and furious affair. Last year’s third-place finisher Nayan Chatterjee will begin as the favourite, with defending champion Anindith Reddy graduating to the international circuit.
The FB02’s first female racer Mira Erda and the teenage duo of Yash Aradhya and Nirmal Uma Shankar are likely to emerge as the new Challengers to experienced hands like Sri Lanka’s Bryan Perera and Manav Sharma.
In the two-wheelers’ section, Joesph Matthew will return to defend his crown in the JK Tyre presents Suzuki Gixxer Cup. The Chennai racer was at his dominating best last season, winning the championship well before the fourth and final round, and will hope to continue his good run. Sachin Chaudhary of Ahmedabad and Malsawmdawngliana of Aizawl will, however, be breathing down his neck.
Like last year, the Red Bull Road to Rookies’ Cup will witness an active participation from the North East, with seven out of the nine riders coming from Aizawl. The youngsters in the age category of 12-16 will aim to blaze the tracks and earn themselves an all-expenses paid trip to Spain to represent India at the mega event.
Round 1: July 6-8, Kari Motor Speedway, Coimbatore.
Round 2: Aug 31-Sep 2, Kari Motor Speedway, Coimbatore.
Round 3: Oct 12-14, Kari Motor Speedway, Coimbatore.
Round 4: Nov 16-18, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida