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MRF Challenge to go international for first time

The MRF Challenge 2013 season will kick-start this weekend with the first round being held at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida.

The FIA sanctioned MRF Challenge will serve as the sole support race for the Formula One Indian Grand Prix. The four round calendar will include 14 races, and will see the leading single-seater racing category in India go international with two rounds to be held in Bahrain in November and December.

The final round of the championship will be held in Chennai in February. MRF also confirmed a prize money of Rs. 6,500,000 for the winners of the In its second year, the MRF Challenge 2013 will feature 18 MRF Formula 2000 race cars, which have been made in India by JA Motorsport based in Coimbatore, in collaboration with Dallara, world's largest racing car manufacturer and also Jayem Automotives Ltd, which is a strategic partner for Tata Motors Ltd.

The Formula 3 style car has been built by JA Motorsport in technical collaboration with Dallara, and is considered to be the fastest of its kind in Asia. The MRF Formula 2000 is powered by a 2.0 litre 210 BHP Renault Sport Engine and will have a Hewland 6-Speed sequential gearbox. The race car has also been crash tested to FIA F3 safety standards and will race with MRF ZLO slick and wet tyres.

Mr. Arun Mammen, Managing Director, MRF Tyres, commented, "We are extremely pleased to launch the second season of the MRF Challenge. After the resounding success in our inaugural season we are keen to build on it and further improve the show. We are proud of the fact that this is the first time that an Indian motorsport series will be held internationally.

JA Motorsport has done an incredible job developing the MRF Formula 2000 race car and is constantly innovating to ensure the cars are world class. These cars are part of the most technologically advanced series of its type and one of the fastest in Asia."

Last year's success has also led to the MRF Challenge 2013 having one of the strongest grids in Asia. Drivers from Formula Renault 3.5, British F3, European F3 will battle it out in this season's MRF Challenge. Arthur Pic, FR 3.5 driver and brother of Caterham F1 driver Charles Pic, will race alongside Tio Ellinas, 2013 GP3 race winner, Harry Tincknell and Rupert Svendsen-Cook, British F3 multiple race winners, and Sam Brabham, son of Le Mans legend David Brabham and grandson of Jack Brabham. There will be four Indians on the grid with 2012 Formula Pilota Asian Champion Parth Ghorpade, former F2 racer Parthiva Sureshwaren, and 2013 MRF 1600 winner and runner-up Ashwin Sundar and Vikash Anand.

Narain Karthikeyan, India's first Formula One driver, was impressed with the driver line up for this and was confident of another great season ahead.

He commented, "The MRF Challenge 2013 promises to be the hottest championship in Asia this year with a great driver line-up. It is great to see the calibre of drivers committing to this series. Participation of drivers from across the globe is a testament to the credibility the series has built in just a year. MRF has done a great job in creating this world-class championship and I believe it will just get bigger in the years to come."

The MRF Challenge 2013 will continue to use the professional setup that worked well last time around as they get the best European engineers and mechanics who were associated with F3, GP3 and F1 championships and also we have got very experienced professionals like, Mr. Antony Heitt and Mr. Jos Claes, Technical Head, Dallara.

Mr. J Anand, Managing Director, JA Motorsports, was pleased with the way everything was shaping up for the first race of the season. He commented, "When MRF first came to me with their vision of the MRF Challenge, I was excited to see the commitment from India's largest tyre manufacturer towards motorsport. MRF was also very keen that we build everything in-house and put India on the motorsport map, as genuine experts in building Formula cars.

In order to make this championship professional and transparent, we are bringing down F3 engineers and mechanics from Europe, and have a close association with Dallara and Renault Sport. We have developed the MRF tyres from last year and the test drivers have given us positive feedback with the new compounds. We are excited about a great season ahead."

The first round will feature two races as part of the Indian GP weekend at BIC this coming weekend. The second round will take place in Bahrain as the support race for the World Endurance Championship final race, the third round will also take place in Bahrain as part of the Gulf National Racing Festival and the final round will be held at the MMRT in Chennai. The second, third and fourth round will feature four races each.

Last year's MRF Challenge featured some of the top drivers in Europe. Race winners from last year have benefited from participation in this series. Race winner Jordan King won the British F3 title this year, while last year's inaugural champion Conor Daly won races in GP3 in 2013 before making the switch to Indycar in the U.S. Jon Lancaster, another race winner, featured heavily in the GP2 championship winning two races along the way.

Mr. Arun Mammen, Managing Director, MRF Tyres, added, "It is heartening to see young international drivers wanting to drive in the India-based MRF Challenge 2013. To be support race at the Indian GP and World Endurance Championship round is an honour for us and speaks volumes of our commitment to promote motorsport not only nationally but internationally as well. I would like to thank all our partners for helping us create this exciting series."

MRF Challenge 2013 Calendar:

Round 1: October 25-27, 2013, New Delhi, Buddh International Circuit (Formula One Support Race)

Round 2: November 28-30, 2013, Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit (World Endurance Championship Support Race)

Round 3: December 19-21, 2013, Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit (Gulf Racing Festival)

Round 4: February 14-16, 2013, Chennai, Madras Motor Race Trust.

Article Courtesy- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/