The 2015 MRF Challenge season will kick-start this weekend with the first round being held at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi - the first of the four rounds that the winter series is slated to host this year.
This driver line-up for this weekend is headed by GP2 driver Nobuharu Matsushita - the team-mate to GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne. The Japanese is likely to do just one round of the series in a bid to prepare himself for the finale of the GP2 series, scheduled to be held alongside the F1 season finale later next month.
Other prominent names on the grid include Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of two-time F1 World Champion Emmerson Fittipaldi. Pietro had won the Protyre Formula Renault Championship last year and competed in European F3 Championship this year.
Another name likely to be racing only this weekend is Jake Dennis, who finished third in this year’s FIA F3 Europe championship with 6 wins. The next round of the MRF Challenge is clashing with the legendary Macau Grand Prix - where both Fittipaldi and Dennis are set to compete.
Harrison Newey, son of famed Formula One engineer Adrian Newey will also be on the grid, joined by F3 driver Tatiana Calderon. Along with Alice Powell and Laura Tillett - a total of three women drivers are likely to be on the grid.
Mr. Arun Mammen, Managing Director, MRF Tyres, commented, "The MRF Challenge has been a great opportunity for young drivers to establish themselves, and give drivers the best chance to race on some of the world’s leading Formula One circuits."
"The series has always been about showcasing India’s R&D capabilities and encouraging highest levels of competition through some of the best young drivers in the world. For the third successive year we will support the World Endurance Championship and go one level further by also running with the GP2 & GP3 cars in Bahrain", he added.
The Indian contingent will include Karthik Tharani Singh who will get his first taste in the MRF Challenge, as a prize for winning the 2015 MRF 1600 Championship. He will be joined by second runner-up Arjun Narendran and 2014 champion Tarun Reddy.
India’s first ever Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan was once again quick to praise MRF and the Challenge. He commented, “I have been working closely with MRF for many years and it is great to see their passion for the sport only increase season by season."
"I have been testing the cars since the beginning of the year and we have worked hard to make the cars much lighter this year. As in any motorsport series, tyres play a major role and the MRF ZLO Slicks that we have developed for this year will make the cars even faster. I expect the cars to be around 1.5 seconds quicker this year which will bring them closer to the European F3 cars.”, he commented.