Racing Team India, the first all-Indian team to compete on the international endurance racing stage, ended its first Asian Le Mans Series campaign fifth in the overall championship standings as it continued to make progress towards its Le Mans dream. Narain Karthikeyan, Arjun Maini and Naveen Rao, raced their ORECA 07 LMP2 car to a pair of fifth-place finishes in the final two races of the season at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina track.
The results came on the back of the fifth and fourth-place finishes the team chalked up in the two season-opening races in Dubai.
Backed by JK Tyres and with technical support from reigning Asian Le Mans champions Algarve Pro Racing, Racing Team India had gone into the Abu Dhabi season-ender hoping to build on its Dubai showing. But unfortunate racing incidents hindered the #64 challenger’s chances of maximising its potential. The team’s first season of competition offered plenty of positives however. Faced with a steep learning curve, the outfit showed it has the speed to fight at the front with its Indian tri-colour liveried car leading the second Dubai race at one stage. Former F1 racer Karthikeyan and European Le Mans veteran Maini were blisteringly quick, showing all of their racing experience.
2020 IMSA Prototype Challenge Champion Naveen Rao, the team’s bronze-rated driver, also made big strides forward, unlocking a new level of performance from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Racing Team India is grateful to the Asian Le Mans Series and the ACO. Organisers were extremely supportive of the team’s effort and goals and welcomed it into the series with open arms.
The team will now continue to pursue its dream to become the first team flying the Indian tri-colour to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The winner of the 2020 Asian Le Mans Series will get an automatic entry into France’s iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans, and that’s a goal that Racing Team India is very much chasing. If it secures an invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which takes place in June 2021, it will become the first squad flying the Indian tricolour to take part in the event.