Mumbai: The much-anticipated drivers draft for the inaugural edition of the X1 Racing League, a franchise-based motorsports competition concluded here today as 30 international and domestic racers were drafted by six teams. Son of legendary F1 driver Niki Lauda, Mathias was picked by the Delhi franchise (AD Racing) while India’s Arjun Maini and Gaurav Gill will race for Bengaluru (Bangalore Racing Stars) and Delhi teams respectively. The league is powered by JK Tyre Motorsports.
The league which is to be held between November 30-December 1 in New Delhi at the Buddh International Circuit and December 7-8 in Chennai at the Madras Motor Race Track will have four drivers and two cars in each team. Of the four drivers in each team there will be one international male, one international female, one India international and domestic racer. Of the two domestic racers picked in each team one will get to represent the franchise. Each race will last for 30 minutes and will have three unique team-based race formats per day.
Team Hyderabad (Blackbirds Hyderabad) were the first to pick in the draft which started off with India’s International racers in the first round, they chose Akhil Rabindra. The next to pick were Team Bengaluru who chose Arjun Maini after which Team Mumbai (Mumbai Falcons) went on to choose Arjun’s brother Khush Maini. The others picked in the round were Krishna Mahadik by Team Ahmedabad (DG Racing), Gill by Team Delhi and Chennai team (NK Racing) auto-picked their team owner Narain Karthikeyan.
In the male international racers draft Bengaluru were the first pick and chose English racer Oliver James Webb. The other male international racers who were picked in the draft include Malaysian driver Alex Yoong by Ahmedabad, Mathias joined Delhi franchise, China’s Frankie Cheng went to the Chennai team, former F1 racer Tonio Luizzi by Hyderabad and Danish racer Mikkel Jensen by Mumbai.
As both male and female drivers would be racing against each other, it was important for each franchise to make sure they had a strong female driver as well. The first female international racer to be picked was Denmark’s Michelle Gatting by Bengaluru. While, English racers Pippa Mann and Alice Powell joined Mumbai and Chennai respectively, Switzerland’s Rahel Frey went to Ahemedabad, Denmark’s Christina Neilsen to Delhi and Polish racer Gosia Rdest to Hyderabad.
The domestic racers who will be part of the action include Arjun Balu and Yash Aradhya for Chennai, Raghul Rangaswamy and Ashwin Datta for Delhi, Chittesh Mandody and Ameya Walavalkar for Ahmedabad, Sohil Shah and Karthik Tharanisingh for Mumbai, Nayan Chatterjee and Vishnu Prasad for Bengaluru and Arjun Narendran and Anindth Reddy for Hyderabad.
“All teams are equally balanced and look strong. As all the cars are of the same make, it will be up to the drivers to show their skills and win the race for their team. We hope that the best team wins the league. We are happy with how the draft concluded and the owners are also happy with their teams. We can’t wait for racing to begin,” said co-founder of X1 Racing, Armaan Ebrahim.
“Some of our domestic Indian drivers will get a chance to rub shoulders with the best of the best. This a chance for the domestic racers who were picked in the draft to make it to the next level and prove themselves against other established International driver. I hope they come out on top,” said co-founder of X1 Racing, Aditya Patel.
The X1 Racing League follows the X1 Racing eSports Racing season 1, a digital-simulator based racing competition which is currently being held in cities across India. The eSports competition was created by X1 Racing in a bid to tap out talent from different strata of the society and also increase the fan following for motorsport in the country.
Oliver James Webb