All about race at Buddh International Circuit

After the second Indian Grand Prix this October, the circuit has begun to be used regularly for other motorsport events

After the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) hosted the first Indian Formula 1 Grand Prix in October 2011, it spent a year being used mostly for trackdays. However, after the second Indian GP this October, the circuit has begun to be used regularly for motorsport events. A month after the Formula 1 race, the Sidvin Festival of Speed was held at BIC.

There were 14 races, over four championships. The JK Racing Asia Series (JKRAS), which is the only FIA-approved Indian-owned racing series, was visiting BIC for the third time. Last year’s championship had seen one round being held as a support race for the first Indian GP. This year as well, the JKRAS figured as one of the support races for the Formula 1 event.

But the MRF Challenge, and its Formula 2000 cars overshadowed it with their Renault engines and drive trains — the fastest racecars in India. Earlier, the MRF Challenge too had served as a support race for the 2012 Indian GP. The third championship was the Volkswagen Polo R Cup and the last was a domestic one — the Indian National Championship.

While the weekend gave spectators in North India an opportunity to see young international racers, including girl drivers, as well as India’s best up­coming drivers, who are mostly South-based, the highlight of the three-day racing festival was Aditya Patel’s two-pronged achievement. During the Formula 1 weekend, he had become the first Indian to stand on the podium at BIC, when he came third in the first JKRAS race and then placed second in the next. This time, which was also the final round of JKRAS 2012, he became the first Indian to win a race in the series as well as at BIC.

When he raced in the JKRAS round in October, Patel was returning to sin­gle-seater racing after spending four years in saloon racing. Perhaps India’s most talented upcoming driver, he was among a clutch of youngsters han­dpicked by Narain Karthikeyan duri­ng a national talent hunt for racing dri­vers some years ago. He has famously said that he harbours no ambitions about getting into Formula 1. The statement came when Karth­ikeyan, asked who he thought might represent India in Formula 1 after he retires, said that Patel was the likeliest to achieve it. Raising sponsorship becomes such a strain that it is perhaps wise to steer clear of it and concentrate instead on driving in top-notch European cham­pionships.

Less than a month after this jam-packed weekend of motorsport, the Delhi Autocross will be held at the BIC for the first time — over December 21-23. There are four groups — amateur stock, pro stock, amateur modified and pro modified. An amateur is a comp­etitor who has not participated in any rally or raid in the extreme, speed or sta­ge categories, or who has not qu­alified for the final round in the Aut­ocross in the past two years.

The Stock category allows engine modifications only to the air filter and the exhaust beyond the first muffler, while all external modifications are permitted. Each group has seven classes — up to 1,150 cc (only Maruti Suzuki vehicles), Up to 1,450 cc (only Maruti Suzuki vehicles), Over 1,450 cc (only Maruti Suzuki vehicles), 4x4 (only Maruti Suzuki vehicles), Diesel (Maruti), Diesel (Open) and Open (all makes, all cubic capacities).

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