JK Tyre’s racing activities once again fall under national championship status from this year, with a more streamlined program due to VW Motorsport’s departure.
If you were to name one single motorsport event in the country (not that there are many) that paves way for the young talent of India to race at international level, odds are that it would be the JK Tyre National Racing Championship. Currently running in its 19th edition, the inaugural round of the 2016 JK Tyre National Racing Championship came to a successful conclusion in Coimbatore on July 31. And there have been some big changes. Beginning this season, the JK FB02 category has been rechristened as Euro JK 16 while the race machines have been tweaked substantially. Over the first race weekend at Kari Speedway, the event played host to 4 races of Euro JK 16 category and 3 races of Formula LGB 4 class.
EURO JK 16 Series
The Euro JK 16 cars have been upgraded – for the next three seasons, to say the least – and are considerably faster and safer than the outgoing machines. In comparison to the races last year, the Euro JK 16 cars are around 4-5 seconds quicker around Kari. Around a faster and more flowing track like the Buddh International Circuit, these cars are expected to be up to 8 to 10 seconds faster per lap. Most of the upgrades include new aero-dynamics such as new rear and front wing side plates along with a fin on the engine cover. Additionally, these cars also get a new paddle shifter Hewland gearbox with electric actuator. The LRH 1.2-litre BMW engine is pegged at 160bhp @ 9,250rpm and, will hit a claimed top whack of 260km/h – 30km/h more than last year’s race machines.
Coming to the race results, Kush Maini won the first race of Euro JK 16, fending off Akhil Rabindra and Anindith Reddy. However, in the second race of the afternoon, he had a terrible start (from pole) and slipped back to 5th place. Although more drama unfolded as Akhil Rabindra’s car flipped over on the first lap, forcing a restart. Rookie Ricky Donison finished 1st in the second race, although an overzealous jump start at the beginning handed him a 10-second penalty – he dropped to 6th position owing to his mistake. This also meant Krishnaraaj Mahadik moved up the order and was adjudged the winner.
Bad weekend continued for Donison on day 2. He ran a flawless race and finished on top in the third race – only to be penalised, again, for a jumpstart! Both Nayan Chaterjee and Mahadik gained a place, thanks to Donison’s repeated mistake. Fortunately, Donison ended within the podium in 3rd position.
The final race of the 1st round saw Nayan Chatarjee take the top step on the podium, followed by Kush Maini and Ricky Donison in 2nd and 3rd spot, respectively.
Formula LGB 4
In Formula LGB 4, Vishnu Prasad of Meco Racing took the first win of the opening round after an intense duel with Ashwin Sundar of Dark Don Racing. Sundar, however, spun his car during the closing laps and dropped back to third place, which allowed Sudarshan Rao to take the 2nd spot in race 1.
Race 2 saw Sundar and Prasad get into a fierce duel again. However, this time, it was Sundar who emerged on top, snatching the win by just 0.088 seconds from Prasad! Sudarshana Rao Karwal completed the podium.
The third and final Formula LGB 4 race of the weekend ended with unexpected results since Prasad retired just after a lap while Sundar finished 14th. Rohit Khanna won the race while Saran Vikram Tmars and Diljith TS came 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
After round 1, Anindith Reddy leads the JK Euro 16 category from Nayan Chatterjee and Ricky Donison. In the LGB Formula 4 class, Rohit Khanna currently at the top with Ashwin Sundar and Vishnu Prasad close behind in second and third spot, respectively. The next round of the JK Tyre will be held on September 9, 2016. And at this point in time, it’s anyone’s championship to win…