While there is no dearth of new cars to drive throughout the year, the one outing we at Autocar India look forward to the most is our annual Track Day event. This year’s Track Day – powered by Michelin India and Savsol Lubricants – was held on August 20-21 and saw a total of eight cars and seven bikes participate. Of those, three entries set a new lap record at the Madras Motor Race Track, which has been home to the Track Day for a long time now and has witnessed India’s F1 star Narain Karthikeyan hammer out dozens of hot laps in a number of sportscars and supercars.
In the hands of Karthikeyan, the 991.2-gen Porsche 911 GT3 RS lapped the MMRT in a blistering 1m47.01sec, a full 1.3 seconds quicker than the previous record holder, the Mercedes-AMG GT R, to become the fastest production car to lap the 3.71-kilometre circuit. What made the Lizard Green GT3 RS’ record-breaking run even more remarkable was the fact that it was running road-biased Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N2 tyres, and not the track-oriented Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres, with which it could have gone quicker still.
Speaking after setting a new lap record for production cars at the MMRT, Karthikeyan said, “I knew the GT3 RS would be much faster than any other production car around this track. Performance-wise, it’s significantly faster than the previous-gen GT3 RS I’ve driven on this track before. This one is phenomenal on the track and is just awesome to drive.”
But the Porsche wasn’t alone in setting a record. Joining it on the MMRT wall of record-holders is the Hyundai Kona Electric, which, with a time of 2m14.12sec, has become the quickest electric vehicle to lap the MMRT. While its lap time won’t put it anywhere near the top of the leaderboard, it must be noted that this lap time almost mirrors the time set by Mahindra’s rally-spec Super XUV all the way back in 2013, and that is quite a remarkable achievement for an electric SUV.
As for the bikes, not only did the Ducati Panigale V4 grab the maximum eyeballs, but also completed a lap of the MMRT in a searing 1m49.001sec. Ridden by superbike racer Rajini Krishnan, the Panigale V4 obliterated the Aprilia RSV4 RF’s record time of 1m50.35sec to secure the crown of the fastest production motorcycle to lap the MMRT.
As Track Day 2019 drew to a close, Hormazd Sorabjee, Editor, Autocar India, said “The Track Day is a regular fixture on the Autocar India calendar, and this year’s line-up presented an interesting mix of cars and bikes. What also makes the Track Day special is the circuit – unlike the Buddh International Circuit, where outright power and top speed are major factors, the Madras Motor Race Track presents a technically challenging layout and brings every car’s dynamic abilities to the fore. This year, we broke two existing lap records and set a brand-new one for an EV, which is a remarkable feat and I’d like to congratulate Narain and Rajini on their record-breaking performances.”
The full lap times of all eight cars and seven motorcycles will be published in the full Track Day report in our mega 20th Anniversary issue. Stay tuned!