Doha: The MRF Challenge series, involving Formula 2000 cars powered by Renault engines and offering prize money of Rs. 65 lakh, takes a leap into history at the Losail circuit here this weekend by becoming the first Indian racing championship to be run under lights.
The FIA sanctioned 2014 MRF Challenge, which became the first Indian-based motorsport series to go international last year, comprises 12 races over three rounds, the first of which will be run here over the weekend followed by the next outing in Bahrain in November before the final round in Chennai in January 2015.
The field of 20 drivers includes Freddie Hunt and Mathias Lauda, sons of former Formula One World champions besides India’s home grown teenager Tarun Reddy, winner of the MRF 1600 series earlier this year.
The grid also boasts of drivers with experience in international Formula races while 16-year-old Reddy will have compatriots Lee Keshav, Vikash Anand and Raj Bharath for company.
Arun Mammen, Managing Director, MRF Tyres, said: “We are excited to launch the third season of the MRF Challenge. The last two years of the MRF Challenge has been a success beyond our expectations and we are keen to further build on this.
“We are pushing the envelope further this year and are happy to start the year off with a night race, which is probably a first for an Indian based motorsport series.
“The World Endurance Championship is one of the biggest motorsport series globally and it will truly be a pleasure for us to race with them on the same weekend in Bahrain," he added.
“With regard to the drivers, we have a great set of young hopefuls with a lot of potential from around the world, with 4 Indians on the grid.”