New Delhi,Dec 19: The first Indian GP2 race winner Karun Chandhok has been appointed on to the 'Red Bull Junior Team' program and has also been signed up by the UK based I-Sport International team to compete in the 2008 GP2 series.
Karun's team-mate for the 2008 season will be the highly rated Bruno Senna, the nephew of the legendary World Champion Ayrton Senna.
This will strengthen Karun's links with the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team for whom he had made his debut Formula 1 test last month and will now open up more testing opportunities with the team next year. The Chennai based driver run will also compete in the all new GP2 Asia series as a pre-cursor to the main championship. I-Sport secured both the Driver's as well as the Team's Championship in the 2007 GP2 series.
The 23-year old Chennai based driver had an impressive debut season with Durango in the 2007 GP2 series, becoming the first Indian GP2 race winner and scoring regular points through the second half of the year with a team that was not a recognized front runner.
Talking to newspersons here this afternoon he said " Ever since the middle of the year I-Sport has been the most sought after drive on the grid. I know they've had nearly every GP2 driver on the grid chasing them for the drive and for them to have taken up the option to run me is a huge confidence boost. I enjoyed my time with Durango last year but when I tested with I-Sport soon after the last race of the season, right from the first few laps I knew that this was the team I wanted to be with." He described the current phase in the Indian Motor sports as"golden period" and said Narain Kartikyan's showing at China's A1GP last week ''did India proud'' and added, ''I am confident that Motor Sport has a very bright and big furure in India.'' On his continued association with Red Bull, Karun said,''Red Bull have really been awesome to me since the start of our partnership.
Helmut Marko, Christian Horner and everyone involved with Red Bull Austria and the F1 team have given their blessing to my deal with I-Sport and being a part of the Junior Team program has made our association stronger.'' ''They were pleased with what I did in the F1 car in Barcelona at my first test and I look forward to being a test driver for them again in 2008. I always said that my ideal scenario for 2008 would be to race with a top GP2 team and test for a good F1 team and this has now worked out well.'' He said,''2008 is going to be the biggest challenge of my career.
The aim is to have podiums, win races and to finish in the top 6 of the championship. The team and I both have the potential to do it.'' Next year, the all new GP2 Asia series will start in Dubai at the end of January with 10 races including Formula 1 support races in Malaysia and Bahrain. The Asia series will be run using the older 2005-2007 specification cars while this year's main European GP2 series will see a brand new specification car powered by a 650 Bhp Renault engine capable of speeds of 330 kmh.