Tata Sons & Tata Motors have officially announced their support for the Narain Karthikeyan as he mulls entry into the Japanese Super Formula racing series next month. The fastest Indian on wheels and India’s first F1 driver, will make his debut in the championship on April 13th, this year. The series comprises a total of eight rounds - seven in Japan and one in South Korea and will end on November 9th, 2014.
In the 2014 Super Formula season, Karthikeyan will be driving for Team Impul Hoshino Racing, which finished third in the overall standings last year. He will compete with some of the fastest drivers across the world including, 24 Hours 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 2012 Super Formula Champion Joao Paulo de Oliveira, who is also Karthikeyan’s teammate at Team Impul, among others.
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.
Dr Mukund Rajan, member, Group Executive Council, and brand custodian and chief ethics officer of 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.”