March 27, 2014

Tata group supports Narain Karthikeyan's foray into Super Formula series

Season starts April 13, 2014

Mumbai: Tata Sons and Tata Motors today announced their support to Narain Karthikeyan, the fastest Indian on wheels and India’s first F1 driver, for his maiden participation in the Japanese championship Super Formula 2014. The series comprising eight rounds, seven in Japan and one in South Korea, will begin on April 13 and end on November 9.

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Super Formula, erstwhile known as Formula Nippon, has been running since 1973, with its driver roster including Michael Schumacher, Eddie Irvine, Pedro De La Rosa and Ralf Schumacher. The series has switched to a new Dallara SF14 chassis this year. Also, similar to the 2014 F1 regulations, the erstwhile V8 engines will be replaced by two-litre, 550bhp turbocharged engines. Going by the two official tests held thus far, the lap time of the new SF14 Super Formula cars is merely three seconds shy of previous-generation F1 cars on the same circuits, and in the same territory as new turbocharged F1 cars.

The Tata group has been supporting Mr Karthikeyan since 2002, contributing immensely to his international career which eventually led him to being the first-ever Indian to race in Formula 1. In the 2014 Super Formula season, Mr Karthikeyan will be driving for Team Impul Hoshino Racing, competing with some of the fastest drivers from across the world. They include 24-hour Le Mans winners and WEC world champions Andre Lotterer and Loic Duval; former F1 pilots Vitantonio Liuzzi, Takuma Sato and Kazuki Nakajima; former Force India F1 test driver James Rossiter; and, 2010 Super Formula Champion João Paulo de Oliveira, who is also Mr Karthikeyan’s teammate at Team Impul, among others.

Dr Mukund Rajan, member, Group Executive Council, and brand custodian and chief ethics officer, Tata Sons, said, The Tata group has, throughout its history, supported the cause of sports in India. It has spawned academies for different sports, sponsored numerous sporting events and supported the most talented sportspersons in this country. Our association with Narain Karthikeyan and motor sports is an extension of this commitment. We have been supporting Narain for the past 12 years and were in fact the principal sponsors of his debut foray in F1. We are excited to sponsor his maiden participation in the 2014 Super Formula season. We wish him the very best, and are confident that he will continue to make India proud.”

L to R: Dr Mukund Rajan, member, Group Executive Council, and brand custodian and chief ethics officer, Tata Sons, with Narain Karthikeyan, the fastest Indian on wheels and India's first F1 driver, at a press conference in Mumbai, to announce the Tata group's support to Narain Karthikeyan for his maiden foray into the 2014 Super Formula series
Driving for Team Impul Hoshino Racing, which finished third in the Super Formula title standings last year and is led by Kazuyoshi Hoshino, the original fastest man in Japan, Mr Karthikeyan is the only Indian participating in the Super Formula 2014 series. Last year, Mr Karthikeyan participated in the Auto GP World series, where he was a title contender and scored a record five wins and four pole positions during the course of the season.

Speaking on the association and the upcoming season, Mr Karthikeyan said, “It is an honour to be backed by the Tata group that has always been at the forefront of promoting Indian sporting talent, and has consciously strived to encourage sports in India and globally through multiple platforms, across multiple sports. I am excited and looking forward to compete in the 2014 Super Formula season, which has an amazing line-up of drivers from across the world. The best part about this spec-series is the fact that everyone has the same equipment and the same opportunity to win – something which I relished in Auto GP last year. I hope to make the country proud.”

Super Formula 2014 calendar   Super Formula 2014 specs
April 13 Suzuka Circuit   Chassis: Dallara SF14
May 18 Fuji Speedway   Engine: 2.0-litre turbo with hybrid system
TBA Korea   Power: 550bhp
July 13 Fuji Speedway   Weight: 650kg (inclusive of driver)
Aug 24 Twin Ring Motegi   Gearbox: Ricardo six-speed paddle shift  
Sept 14 Autopolis   Brakes: Brembo
Sept 28 Sportsland Sugo   Tyres: Brembo
Nov 9 Suzuka Circuit      

 

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