New Delhi, Nov 30: Speed and sportscar have always fascinated the youth all over the world and Indians too haven't been untouched with the craze for speed. India, despite being home to some of the most dynamic and passionate youngsters, hasn't yet emerged as the hub for motorsport.
One of the primary reasons for the stagnated motorsport sector in India is the lack of infrastructure and the high expenses involved with this sport. To narrow this gap and scout future talents in the country and revive the motorsport category in India, a franchise-based motor racing league has been launched.
X1Racing League is one of its kind competition in which budding talents are being provided with an opportunity to drive racing cars on the tracks and even learn the tricks of the trade from some of the best names in the business.
The X1Racing League follows the X1Racing eSports Racing season 1, a digital-simulator based league, also gives the Indian racers a chance to showcase their talents in front of the home crowd. The prospect of racing in front of the home audience and rubbing shoulders with international racers has kept everyone excited.
Promising young talent Akhil Rabindra, who is the only Asian to be selected for the Aston Martin Drivers Academy earlier this year, is also amongst a talented lot of Indian drivers who are excited about participating in the inaugural edition of the league.
In the franchise-based motorsports competition, powered by JK Tyre Motorsports, Akhil is representing Blackbirds Hyderabad. Akhil debuted in the International Motor Sports Association 2019 Michelin Pilot Challenge held at Road America, United States held at Virginia International Raceway and claimed the pole for FOX Factory 120. He finished sixth at Virginia International Raceway IMSA Michelin Pilot GT Challenge in the last season and has won multiple podiums in the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 European Series.
The 23-year-old Bengaluru-born racer, who has been racing since the age of 14, in an interview with MyKhel explained how this league could open the avenues for those who wish to pursue a career in motorsport and how will it increase the pool of dynamic racers.
Q: What do you have to say about the concept and format of this new franchise-based league, and also tell us about your association with team Hyderabad?
Akhil: I am very happy to be a part of the Blackbirds Hyderabad team and I think we have a pretty balanced team with us. The league has a really interesting format and that makes it pretty challenging for us drivers to test our skills. All the teams are good so challenging races and good drivers are going to make the weekend pretty exciting.
Q: How is this league going to help Indian motorsport?
Akhil: This league allows young drivers like me and others to rub shoulders with some of the international drivers participating in the league. We'll race together and learn from each other's experiences. This will give us a chance to showcase our potential and skills to these international racers and prove how good we are on the track.
Q: Since you don't drive the kind of cars that are being used in his league, what will be the key takeaways for you from this competition?
Akhil: For me, the key takeaways would be to do well and win as many races I can. I normally race GT cars, and here we'll be driving formula cars, so yes it's a different category. It will be an entirely new experience for me, racing in this league. Although I have driven formula cars for three to four years in the early days of my career. Thus, it will be a good learning curve for me.
I think the biggest positive from this league for me is that I will be working with such great people, this is something that I'll never get in any other format. Such a great mix of people in my team, as well as the others, is very hard to get and I'll make use of it to learn from such an experienced lot.
Q: How will this league help change the spectrum of motorsport in India?
Akhil: There are a lot of talented racers in India across the age groups. The best thing about racing in India is that you can build a career in motorsport at any age, all you need is the passion to pursue your dream. So, X1Racing gives Indian drivers a platform to showcase their talents, get selected and get an opportunity to race with the international racers and learn from them.
Q: The organisers have devised upon a plan to first scout talents through smartphones games and from there they can filter out the ones for the next level. Do you think it is a good strategy?
Akhil: The most common word which we use in motorsport is 'expensive' because of the tracks - which is being built in an area of hundreds of acres - and the cars which are not cheap. So this is a platform to the aspiring racers to join and build their careers. Since we are a country of 1.3 billion people, it isn't easy to reach out to the masses. So I think getting to them with the help of the smartphones, is a unique idea and gradually you filter it down with talent. I think it's a great strategy.