Mumbai Falcons is all set to create history by becoming the first full-fledged team from India to compete in the prestigious F3 Asian Championship, commencing in Dubai on January 29.
The team that swept almost all the titles in the inaugural X1 League last year will be led by F2 stalwart Jehan Daruvala and British F3 Runner-Up Kush Maini, according to a press release here on Wednesday.
With former F2 and GT1 racer Armaan Ebrahim as the Team Principal and 8-time National Champion Rayomand Banajee as strategy and communications head, Mumbai Falcons is confident of winning the Championship.
“Our goal is to take Indian Motorsport to new heights. Asian F3 is just the beginning,” Navjeet Gadhoke, owner of Mumbai Falcons, which came into existence just last year, said. “With Jehan and Kush, we have the best driver line-up on the grid. We are confident of going all the way and winning the Championship,” he added.
“We have quietly been working on this and we are ready to enter the international stage in a big way,” Moid Tungekar, CEO of Mumbai Falcons, declared.
The Asian F3 Championship is the continent’s most competitive racing event, with nine strong teams boasting of multiple F2 and F3 drivers, competing. Last year, two racers from this Championship had even made it to Formula 1.
Incidentally, MSport had fielded a team last year but had only one Indian driver in the lineup.
The five-round 15-race long season will kick off in Dubai on January 29 and conclude on February 20 in Abu Dhabi.
Jehan Daruvala, who is being hailed as the next big thing in Indian racing, is just one step away from Formula 1. The multiple International Karting Champion is the only Indian to have made it to the podium of an FIA World Championship (third in the 2014 FIA CIK World Karting Championship).
He also remains the only Indian to win an official Grand Prix (New Zealand Grand Prix). His 26 Rookie Podiums in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is a record. He had multiple wins and was second runner up in the 2019 FIA F3 Championship, after remaining in title contention till the last round. A few weeks ago, he became the first Indian to win an F2 Race in its current iteration too.
Kush Maini is the youngest Indian to ever win an Asian Karting race and is a multiple Karting Champion and race winner across Formula categories. He made waves last year when he was in title contention for the BRDC Formula 3 Championship. With 3 victories to his name, the young Indian proved himself, across some of the most iconic British circuits. Kush was the most prominent driver in the inaugural X1 Racing League, en route to winning the Indian International Driver’s title with Mumbai Falcons.
The season’s opening round of the 23rd JK Tyre – FMSCI National Racing Championship (JKNRC) witnessed lots of excitement, with Ashwin Datta and Amir Sayed stealing the show on Day 2 in Coimbatore on Saturday.
The 16-year-old Sayed from Kottayam proved his class winning every other race, four in all, with ease in the JK Tyre Novice Cup. It was his first visit to this circuit but he mesmerised one and all with his magic on the wheel.
Even as the others struggled to tackle the tricky and slow first corner, Sayed, despite limited track time, handled it with ease. In fact, he turned it to his advantage winning both the races on Friday in a commanding manner. He further shifted top gear to win two more races on Saturday and also earned a good round of applause from the crowd.
The Formula LGB4, the premier class, saw Ashwin Datta of Dark Don Racing clinch a rare double. Vishnu Prasad delivered for his team (MSport) winning the opening race on Friday. But the experienced star from Chennai found it hot in the second race on Saturday as Datta drove brilliantly.
The race witnessed some nervy moments as there were quite a few spins.The safety car came in time and again but Ashwin kept his cool right through to win it much to the joy of his team. Of course, he completed the race under the yellow flag as the safety car had come in for the fourth time.
“I was slow in the first sector but I was confident enough as I had the pace. It was a nightmare of sorts with the safety car in several times but, that’s what racing is all about,” said Ashwin, who finished ahead of MSport stars Raghul Rangasamy and Vishnu Prasad.
In the second race, it was Raghul who held the advantage at the start before his car let him down midway through. Vishnu cashed in on the chance and moved ahead. It was a fight between Vishnu and Datta from there. Even as the former was building a sizeable lead and looked well set for a double, came the safety car in with just two laps to go.
Datta grabbed the opportunity with both hands and even managed to get past Vishnu in the second corner. Vishnu pressed the pedal hard for one last time but Datta played it smart and clean to finish the day on a merry note.
The results (Provisional):
JK Tyre Novice Cup: Race 1: 1. Amir Sayed (MSport) 15:56.927; 2. Neym Rizvi (MSport); 3. Dhruvin Gajjar (DTS Racing).
Race 2: 1. Amir Sayed (MSport) 16:23.787; 2. Dhruvin Gajjar (DTS Racing); 3. Aman Chaudhary (DTS Racing).
Race 3: 1. Amir Sayed (MSport) 11:58.316; 2. Aman Chaudhary (DTS Racing); 3 Dhruvin Gajjar (DTS Racing).
Race 4: 1. Amir Sayed (MSport) 17:53.731; 2. Aman Chaudhary (DTS Racing); 3. Dhruv Tyagi (Momentum Motorsports).
Race 1: Vishnu Prasad (MSport) 21:58.046); 2. Sandeep Kumar A (Dark Don Racing); 3. Ashwin Datta (Dark Don Racing).
Race 2: Ashwin Datta (Dark Don Racing) 20:52.423; 2. Raghul Rangasamy (MSport); 3. Vishnu Prasad (MSport).
Race 3: 1. Ashwin Datta (Dark Don Racing) 22:13.962; 2. Vishnu Prasad (MSport); 3. Sarosh Hataria (Ahura Racing).