Is MRF Challenge Chennai podium a sign of Indian motorsport global dawn?
The global profile of sport in India has been growing with the country’s economic prosperity, signified primarily by the wealth and interest of cricket’s Indian Premier League. Now the potential for it to become a significant global player in motorsport has been trumpeted by tyre manufacturer – and sporting equipment supplier – MRF. The manufacturer suggests a podium from the final races of the MRF Challenge series at Chennai symbolises India’s emergence; on the top step is Pietro Fittipaldi (grandson of Emerson), 2nd is Harrison Newey (son of Adrian), and 3rd is Mick Schumacher (son of Michael).
Time will tell whether this line-up will be repeated on a Formula One podium in the future, but MRF says the presence of the descendants of key names from the pinnacle of global motorsports signifies the rapid maturation of motorsport in India. Developed and supported by the tyre manufacture, the MRF Challenge is attracting young up-and-coming racers from across the globe, as well as a number of talented Indian nationals. MRF adds: “the fact that this level of young driver is choosing to race in the MRF Challenge Series is testament to the highly professional management of the series as well as the top level of competition.”
Led by MRF managing director, Arun Mammen, the company has two clear goals. First it wishes to build the profile of its race series further by attracting the best young drivers; secondly it wants to utilise the marketing potential of these drivers to enhance global brand visibility for its tyre products.
Through UK based Service and Sport Ltd, MRF have already started to distribute its motorsport products in the UK and other European markets, and they plan to follow this up with distribution agreements for their commercial, passenger and agricultural tyre ranges in the near future.