MRF F1600: Full grid for MMRT Season Opener
 January 26, 2016| 
  • Feeder Series
CHENNAI, India – The 2016 season of the MMSC FMSCI National Racing Championship opens at the iconic Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) in Sriperumbudur this weekend with rich promise of high-octane action. A total of 10 events are scheduled, including the final rounds of the MRF International Challenge series for Renault engine-powered Formula 2000 machines. The National Championship also will have double-headers in the MRF F1600 series, which in 2016 will offer its champion an opportunity to compete in the Mazda Road to Indy $200K Shootout, plus the Super Stock and the Indian Junior Touring Cars.

Two other categories, the Formula LGB 1300 and Indian Touring Car, will join the championship from the second round to be held in March.

Also on this weekend’s program card is a support event of two races for Honda CBR 250 bikes.  

For the first time, the MRF F1600 will boast of a full grid of 17 drivers followed by a list of aspirants awaiting a chance to drive. The happy situation is due to the shootout that Madras Motor Sports Club had organized recently, providing opportunity for all-comers to make the race grid.

Last month, the MMSC, now in its 63rd year, was awarded the rights for 10 National Championships (both two and four wheelers) per year for the next three years. It is an acknowledgment of its ceaseless efforts to take racing in India to the next level. 

Some of MMSC’s innovative initiatives have helped young overseas drivers to cut their racing teeth and gain valuable experience through participation in the MRF International Challenge. For Indian youngsters the MRF F1600 offers a platform to showcase their talent with the championship winner earning a chance to compete in the Mazda Road to Indy shootout which will be held later this year in North America. The shootout winner will receive a Mazda scholarship of US$200,000 to compete in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the first rung on the highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy development ladder in the United States which offers drivers opportunities to earn scholarships from every level between karting and the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.

The FIA-inscribed MRF International Challenge, with a card of four races, is expected to provide much of the excitement with a clutch of overseas drivers, notably Mick Schumacher and Giuliano Alesi, sons of Formula 1 stars seven-time World champion Michael Schumacher and Jean Alesi, as well as Harrison Newey, the son of leading F1 designer Adrian Newey. 

However, with the championship still wide open, the focus would be as much on front-runners. Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, heads the leaderboard with 168 points, ahead of Tatiana Calderon from Colombia (150), Russian Nikita Troitcki (137) and Belgium’s Alessio Picariello (134), while the Indian interest will be around Chennai teenager Tarun Reddy who is currently sixth in the championship.
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