Dubai: The MRF Challenge, one of Asia’s premier single-seater championships, and an FIA-approved series, is again set to light up the winter season with a clutch of young, exciting talent from Europe and elsewhere in the fray as the seventh edition commences at the Dubai Autodrome here, on Thursday, November 15.
The MRF Challenge 2018-19, organized by the Madras Motor Sports Club, will comprise three rounds, to be run in Dubai (Nov 15-17), Bahrain (Dec 6-8) and Chennai (Feb 8-10, 2019) with a total of 15 races, and offers cars powered by 2-litre engines producing 230 BHP while almost matching Formula 3 in speed and power
Mr. Arun Mammen, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, MRF Tyres, said: “It has been an exciting journey for us as we present the seventh edition of the MRF Challenge which, among other things, offer young drivers a platform to showcase their racing talent. We provide identical cars to all the drivers and so, the key differentiating factor is the driving ability. It has also been our constant endeavour to develop the car which is now among the fastest single-seaters in Asia. The MRF Challenge also offers us rich data that in turn helps us to develop further the MRF Z.L.O. slicks and wet tyres.
“The positioning of the MRF Challenge in the winter months between November and February also offers an opportunity for drivers across the World to keep themselves race-fit during the off-season. As such, we have had some very exciting talent taking part in the MRF Challenge over the years and it will be no different this time around.”
Mr. J Anand, Managing Director, JA Motorsports, who built the car in technical collaboration with Dallara, said: “We carried out lot of improvements for last year. From the data we collected, we have only refined the aerodynamics package for this season. Apart from that, the car remains the same as last year.”
The MRF F2000 car with Dallara chassis, is powered by a 2-Litre Mountune Duratec engine producing 230 BHP with advanced aerodynamics. The car boasts of a Hewland six-speed sequential gearbox equipped with Integrated dash and paddle-shift system.
Europe is expected to have a strong representation as in the previous seasons of MRF Challenge. Several young hopefuls with exposure to junior Formula racing are likely to participate.
Chennai-based Chetan Korada is the lone Indian in the fray. A regular in the Indian National Championship and one of handful of racers in the World competing with a prosthesis leg, Korada is making his debut in the MRF Challenge. “I have been racing in India for over a decade now and I thought I should step outside to race in higher categories. The MRF Challenge car is far more comfortable in terms of space for leg movement than the F1600 I have been driving in India. My target for MRF Challenge is to be in in front. I am putting in lot of time on the simulator at home, besides daily gym work. So, I feel I am fit and ready for MRF Challenge,” said Korada.
This year’s MRF Challenge grid will have Australian Dylan Young who has been participating in the championship since its inception. Returning for a second season of MRF Challenge is Singapore’s Danial Nielsen Frost along with Belgian Michelangelo Amendola.
The full and final list of drivers confirmed for the championship will be announced on completion of documentation process.