Toyota has finalized 25 people who will drive during the inaugural season of the Etios Motor Racing (EMR) Series. Toyota held three camps and zeroed in on the most talented 25 racers, both from India and overseas, in the age group of 15 to 24. The selected drivers will have an opportunity to drive at the two Exhibition Races in 2012 and the EMR, opening up their prospects in the world of racing, both in India and in the international arena. A team of acclaimed motorsport drivers conducted the selection in a well organized manner.
Commenting on the EMR driver training programme, Mr. Sandeep Singh, Deputy Managing Director-Marketing, said, “We had young aspiring racing drivers from all over India, and it was truly heartening to witness the passion and enthusiasm they showed for motorsport at the various EMR camps. In fact this further emphasizes the purpose of an initiative such as this for motorsports in the country. An experienced team put their heads together to select the driver line-up for the EMR Series, and will continue to partner us to hone the driving skills of the young talent the country has to offer. This is only the beginning, and we have a lot of excitement in store, starting with the exhibition races in August and October this year”.
Toyota received a record number of 3,300 online registrations from which the company initially selected 900 eligible participants who competed in the first round of auditions in four cities, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore. Experts in the field including Leelakrishnan, Farad Bhathena, Nawaz Sandhu, Karandeep Sandhu, Amittrajit Ghosh and Karna Kadur sifted out 70 young drivers, judging by the way in which each participant drove eight laps on tracks which were redesigned by Red Rooster Racing.
The Second camp subjected the 70 candidates through a rigorous round of selections where they received individual training. Five experts with motorsport background, Leelakrishnan, Ram Narayan, Rahul Kantharaj, Karna Kadur and Anish Rathnam, assessed the candidates in Bangalore in three batches, zeroing in on 40 candidates. The drivers where judged on their go-kart driving skills with a focus on their lap times and consistency in lap times in the first and second camps.
The 40 candidates who qualified for the third camp underwent an extensive training session with the Etios Motor Racing Cars for over two days at the Madras Race Track (MMSC). The drivers were constantly mentored by a team of experts including Leelakrishnan, Ram Narayan, Rahul Kantharaj, Amittrajit Ghosh and Karna Kadur. The final 25 candidates and 10 reserves were judged with regard to their consistency in tap timings and the fastest lap timings.
Toyota Racing Development (TRD), an acclaimed engineering company in the history of motorsport will support the EMR series along with Toyota Technocraft Co Ltd, the corporate brand from the Toyota affiliate. Keeping up with the global legacy of Toyota, the EMR series, to be held in the second half of 2013, will be based on a single-make racing championship platform. TRD will provide the technical expertise along with the racing parts for the cars which would be FIA qualified. Red Rooster Racing (International) Pvt Ltd, the Indian motorsport expert based in Bangalore and headed by Leelakrishnan, former racing and rallying champion, will partner and work closely with Toyota in the venture. Other official partners for the EMR will include MRF, a pioneer of motor racing in India, DENSO, an affiliate of Toyota and manufacturer of auto parts and Savita, the sole distributor of Idemitsu Oil products in India.
The Etios racing platform will help in molding young talented racers to hone their skills and to give them an edge in the motorsports arena. The racers will have access to the best platform in the country, an opportunity to compete with the best in the field while being mentored by experts. The series will highlight on the technological competence of the manufacturer, the endurance levels of the Etios and project the ‘fun to drive’ aspect of the vehicle.