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HRT driver Narain Karthikeyan has launched the MRF Challenge 2012 as series for aspiring drivers and mostly using Indian technology.
The 35-year-old launched the series at a special event at Express Avenue Mall in Chennai, watched by over 10,000 fans.
After a successful series last year with MRF Formula Ford 1600, which included a support race to the inaugural Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix, MRF has decided to up the ante in 2012. The upcoming series will showcase high speed, cutting-edge race-car technology combined with Indian manufacturing excellence.
MRF, the largest tyre manufacturer in India, has commissioned Jayem Automotives Ltd in Coimbatore to build the 'MRF Formula 2000' car which has been built under technical collaboration with Dallara, the world's largest manufacturer of bespoke single-seater racing cars.
Dallara has given the car a modern and dynamic design with the latest in cutting-edge technology which is available to them, while Renault-Sport has designed and manufactured its 210 BHP 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine. The car, which will boast performance equal to current international Formula 3 machinery, features a six-speed Hewland sequential gearbox and is claimed to be an ultra-safe and reliable package.
The tyres have been specifically designed from the ground up for high-speed circuit racing. The brief for MRF's R&D Engineers was straight-line speed and stability, as well as high-speed cornering grip in addition to a very high level of safety.
"When MRF launched the Formula 1600 in 2010, I was very excited and justifiably felt that it was a huge step forward in domestic racing," said Karthikeyan, an MRF Racing Brand Ambassador. "Little did I know, or expect, that two years later, they would move the bar so far ahead.
"The new MRF Formula 2000 cars are the absolute cutting edge in international racing technology. The platform it will provide to young racing drivers from all over the world will make it a unique series internationally. The new MRF slick racing tyres which are being developed specifically for the dynamic characteristics of this car are also shaping up really well. My first impressions of the car and tyres were very positive when I drove it for the first time a few days ago."
Round One of the series will be as a support race for the Indian Grand Prix, while Round Two will be held in December as support for the FIA GT1 Championship and the final two rounds will be held in Chennai in February 2013.
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