India's first Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan backs X1 Racing League, feels it will revolutionise country's motorsport

Motorsport in India has been stagnant over the past decade and country's first Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan hopes that the upcoming X1 Racing League will provide a much-needed boost to the struggling sport

Press Trust of India, Nov 18, 2019 17:27:38 IST

Chennai: Motorsport in India has been stagnant over the past decade and country's first Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan hopes that the upcoming X1 Racing League will provide a much-needed boost to the struggling sport.

Indias first Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan backs X1 Racing League, feels it will revolutionise countrys motorsport

File image of former India Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan.

"Motorsport in India has been stagnant over the last 10-15 years. There are some one-make series which are around... This (X1) could be one of the first steps and you know there are young drivers in the league and they can learn from experienced drivers before they start going international," the 42-year-old told PTI in an interaction.

"This X1 League will revolutionise motorsport the way we see it in India. And it has a mix of local and international drivers and young drivers will be exposed at a very early stage on what to expect before going abroad," said, Karthikeyan who owns the Chennai team, added.

He said if the package was right, the league could do what Formula 1 has not done to India.

"See, if the package is put together right, we all believe it is and what F1 has not done to India, this should be doing it. It should help grassroot levels of motorsports grow."

"Taking the sport to the masses is another objective. So, with these two in mind, the package has been created and we hope to deliver," he added.

Former F1 drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi and Alex Yoong, some women drivers including Alice Powell, Indian rally ace Gaurav Gill apart from Karthikeyan will be participating in the league which is slated to start from 30 November at the Buddh International Circuit, New Delhi.

The second leg will be held at the MMRT race track near Chennai on 7 and 8 December.

The Coimbatore-based Karthikeyan, who is presently taking part in the Super GT Series in Japan, also said this (X1 League) is a format where the youngsters don't have to worry about getting sponsors. "For them (youngsters), there is no pressure other than that of performing," he said.

Asked if the country's top rally driver Gaurav Gill getting the Arjuna award would provide an impetus to motorsport, he said any award was welcome and hoped the sport gets recognised more often.

"Yeah...for sure. Any award for motorsport is always welcome. I got the Padma Shri in 2010 and now Gill has been bestowed with the Arjuna award. I hope motorsport gets recognised and more awards are forthcoming," he added.

About his own career, Karthikeyan said he was enjoying racing as much as he did when he started. "I have been racing for 27 years and I like it as much as when I started it," he signed off.

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Updated Date: Nov 18, 2019 17:27:38 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 Australia 4320 108
3 England 5253 105
4 New Zealand 3449 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
6 Sri Lanka 4191 91
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5442 111
5 Australia 5854 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 6095 265
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 5248 262
6 New Zealand 7114 245