What is the Indian Racing League?
The Indian Racing League is city-based racing league, much like the IPL and there are more similarities between the two. There are 9 cities that will participate, each consisting of 2 racing car drivers. One driver has to be local (Indian) and the second, non-Indian; the IPL concept of having local as well as international players. A good attempt to marry Indian and international motorsport I would say. The racing series will be called the 'i1 Super Series' and is pending approvals from the FIA and FMSCI.
Where will the Indian Racing League races be organized?
There are 9 races in the 2011-12 season that will be held across the Middle East (Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar), India (Greater Noida and Chennai) and South-east Asia (Malaysia and Bangkok) are the venues that have been short-listed.
Who are the drivers for the Indian Racing League?
Currently, there are no drivers who have been shortlisted for the IRL. However, there is a panel that will select international as well as Indian drivers for the IRL. Unlike the IPL, the drivers will not be selected via an auction.
What racing car is being used by the Indian Racing League?
The Radical SR3 is being used in this series and the IRL will be a single-make championship. The car weighs around 570kgs and has a V8 power plant that is expected to deliver around 230-240 bhp. The car looks like the Le Mans racing car and will be yet another first in Indian motorsport. (Most other Indian racing championships are either single seater or saloon car championships)
Which Indian drivers are racing in the Indian Racing League?
Still unconfirmed, but I would assume that Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok would be the most obvious bets. I would also expect VW Scirocco Cup racer Aditya Patel to race in these championship and maybe Armaan Ebrahim as well. If all four get a chance, it will be interesting to see how the four Indian racers match against each other in standard equipment. (This too would be a first time!) I would also like to see Indian National Rally Championship rally driver Gaurav Gill participate in this championship.
I assume I have covered most of the competition and operational questions that one would have. However, do leave any more questions for me to answer in the comments section. (As always, I shall try my best to answer)
Those interested in the business and commercial angle of the i1 Super Series, read further:
What is the cost of a franchise in the Indian Racing League?
The cost of purchasing a franchise in the IRL is $5 million (USD) for 15 years. However, this cost only gives you the franchise rights, which allow you to sell sponsorships, licenses and merchandise, etc. towards your team. Since the race tracks are not local, I would assume that ticket sales are not included for the franchise owner.
What is the cost of running a team in the Indian Racing League?
I have always focused on the cost of running a Formula1 team and hence I was one of the few guys who inquired the same for IRL. The cost of running a full-fledged IRL team would be in the range of $6-8 million USD. As a team owner, this would mean owning two race cars and a team of engineers and mechanics to operate with. This would also include the cost of transportation from one venue to another.
What is Sachin Tendulkar's role in the Indian Racing League? Are any other cricketers involved?
The IRL speculation started a few days ago with a report that Sachin Tendulkar had himself invested in the series. However, it was revealed yesterday that Tendulkar is the 'brand ambassador' and an 'advisor' to the i1 Super Series. There are media reports that MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh are keen to buy a team too. At the event yesterday, Raymond-boy Gautam Singhania was present too. Will we see a Team Raymond Racing?
Who are the sponsors involved with the Indian Racing League?
Based on my discussions yesterday at the function, currently there are no sponsors tied with the IRL. However, there are on-going discussions and Machdar (pronounced as 'Mack'-'dar') Motorsport is keen on signing a few deals in the next month or so. The show car at the event sported 'Dunlop' racing tyres, but the tyres used as a prop were 'Yokohoma', so I don't know which tyre company is associated afterall. Machdar is also keen on signing up a logistics partner for the championship, which should considerably reduce operational costs of an IRL team.
Will the Indian Racing League be telecast on Indian television?
The IRL currently doesn't have a TV deal in place. However, the organizers are certain that they will sign one in the near future. A TV deal is important for the series as it will directly impact team and series sponsorships.
What is the format of the Indian Racing League? Future plans?
Weekend racing, the IRL will follow a sprint format, with 2 races on each weekend. The i1 Super Series also plans 'Festival of Speed' to promote motorsport to an average Indian. Ambitious and much needed! The IRL also plans academies in India to groom young talent.