With just over two weeks to go before the X1 Racing series kicks off on November 30, the franchise-based motorsport series has revealed the 30 drivers who will be competing in its inaugural season. The line-up boasts of some big names on both the domestic and international front, featuring Narain Karthikeyan, Gaurav Gill, Mathias Lauda, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Alice Powell and others.
The series initially suggested that a total of six teams will represent different cities and field four drivers each. However, it has now emerged that each team will instead comprise five drivers – one international male driver, one international female driver, one Indian international driver (referring to Indian racers who have participated in international racing events) and two Indian domestic drivers. Interestingly, Mathias Lauda and Freddie Hunt – the sons of F1 legends Niki Lauda and James Hunt – were both announced as part of the international driver line-up at the series’ official launch last month; X1 Racing co-founder Armaan Ebrahim even joked calling this “Rush 2.0”. However, as of now, Freddie Hunt doesn’t feature on the existing roster.
Every team will continue to run to two cars each. As confirmed by Autocar India earlier, the cars will be based on the old Formula BMW chassis. The single-seat race cars – which have been run by X1 Racing’s partner JK Tyres in the now-defunct Euro JK series – will feature redesigned, Formula E-style bodywork. The series was initially in talks to run cars produced by J Anand’s Coimbatore-based JA Motorsports, but was forced to scale back plans for its maiden season due to cost restrictions.
The opening round of the X1 Racing League will be held at the Buddh International circuit (BIC) in Noida from November 30 to December 1, 2019, with the second round to be held at the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) on the outskirts of Chennai on December 7-8, 2019. Here’s what each team will look like:
AD Racing Delhi
Three-time Asia Pacific Rally Champion and recent Arjuna awardee Gaurav Gill and reigning LGB Formula 4 champion Raghul Rangasamy have been confirmed for team Delhi. They’ll be joined by Mathias Lauda, Ashwin Datta – who recently won the 2019 Formula LGB 1300 championship – and Danish driver Christina Nielsen.
NK Racing Chennai
India’s first F1 star Narain Karthikeyan isn’t just the owner of team Chennai; he’ll also be driving for the team alongside Alice Powell – who recently completed the inaugural W Series season in 3rd place – and Chinese driver Franky Cheng. As for the domestic drivers, Indian Touring Championship race-winner Arjun Balu will be driving for the team along with Yash Aradhya.
Bangalore Racing Stars
Arjun Maini, who has served has the Haas F1 Team’s development driver and competed in select Formula 2 races this year, will be driving for team Bangalore. Joining him will be former European Le Mans champion Oliver James Webb, LGB Formula 4 racer Vishnu Prasad, MRF F1600 racer Nayan Chatterjee and Danish driver Michelle Gatting.
Setting up the stage for some sibling rivalry, Arjun Maini’s brother Kush Maini will be driving for team Mumbai. The Indian racer had secured a podium finish on his Formula Renault Eurocup debut, earlier this year. Driving alongside him will be Indian Touring Championship racer Karthik Tharani, IndyCar driver Pippa Mann, 2019 European Le Mans Series LMP3 runner-up Mikkel Jensen and Sohil Shah.
Black Birds Hyderabad
Former F1 racer Vitantonio Liuzzi will be leading the charge for team Hyderabad, alongside GT4 European Series racer Akhil Rabindra and Polish driver Gosia Rdest. Anindith Reddy and Arjun Narendran will also be driving for the team.
DG Racing Ahmedabad
Team Ahmedabad’s driver line-up consists of former F1 driver Alex Yoong, British F3 race winner Krishnaraaj Mahadik, Swiss driver Rahel Frey, experienced Indian racer Ameya Walavalkar and current LGB Formula 4 racer Chittesh Mandody.
X1 Racing League cars to use Formula BMW chassis