In the 1970s, Niki Lauda and James Hunt lit up the Formula One circuit with a rivalry that was popular enough to catch the attention of the Hollywood big-wigs. Their sons, Mathias and Freddie respectively, will now compete against each other in India for the inaugural X1 Racing League this December.
The upcoming racing event, a first ever franchise-based competition in motorsport in India, is the brainchild of Indian drivers Armaan Ebrahim and Aditya Patel. But unlike regular motorsport events, where manufacturers compete to provide their drivers with a powerful vehicle, the X1 League will involve each of the six franchises being provided with two identical single-seater cars.
“The idea is to test the talent of the drivers and not rely on how strong the car is,” says Ebrahim. “It makes things more centralised and an even-field. Eventually it’ll be the sheer talent of the driver that will decide the race.”
The League consists of three races on each day – for four days in total. The first two races will essentially require a pair of drivers to swap places after a certain number of laps. The third race meanwhile is a relay – the starting driver will complete a certain number of laps before getting back to the pit, where a teammate in the second car will begin the run, while a third will strap into the first car and await for the second to return, and the same goes for the fourth and final racer.
“It’s a concept that has never been seen before,” says Patel. “So there will be a lot of confusion at the start, and some excitement too. But teams will have to strategise as well, and figure out which driver features where in the lineup. And which two drivers will pair up for the first two races.”
The six franchises will be based out of Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune, but the races will only take place at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida for two days, and then at the Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai the following weekend.
Each team will include four drivers – an foreign male racer, a foreign female, an Indian international, and domestic racer. The teams will be formed through a draft pick towards the end of the month.