mrf-2016November 11, 2016: The MRF Challenge 2016 season will kick-start this weekend with the first round taking place in Bahrain alongside the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The FIA sanctioned MRF Challenge 2016 championship, which is the only Indian based motorsport series to continuously race internationally, will feature 4 rounds with 14 races in Bahrain, Dubai, New Delhi and Chennai. This will also mark the return to the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi after a 3 year absence.

Mr. Arun Mammen, Managing Director, MRF Tyres, commented, “After a thrilling 2015 season we are excited to launch the fifth season of the MRF Challenge. The MRF Challenge has been a great opportunity for young drivers to establish themselves, and give drivers the best chance to hone their skills on some of the world’s leading circuits. We continue to push the envelope on our R&D capabilities with significant upgrades to the car and huge improvement with the tyres for the season. It is heartening to see the top young drivers choosing to compete in the MRF Challenge 2016 and this year is no different with yet another exciting line-up. We are happy to announce that we will return to the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi along with a return to Dubai and Chennai.”

This year the grid will have another promising line-up headed by the returning Harrison Newey, son of legendary F1 designer Adrian Newey, and Mick Schumacher, son of 7 time F1 champion Michael Schumacher. Joining them will be German F4 Champion Joey Mawson, 2015 Italian F4 Champion and F3 race winner Ralf Aron, Japanese F3 Champion Yoshiaki Katayama and Manuel Maldonado, cousin of former F1 race winner Pastor Maldonado. 17 year old French F4 runner up Gilles Magnus will also join the championship the average age being 18 for the MRF Challenge this year.

fittipaldi-leading-race-1India’s first ever Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan, who has played a key role in developing the car, was once again quick to praise MRF and the Challenge in its 5th year. He commented, “I have been working closely with MRF for many years and it is great to see their commitment for the sport only increase season by season. It’s a fantastic package for young drivers to really learn how a high-grip, high-downforce single-seater works and is surely unmatched in terms of the value and track time it offers for experienced drivers as well. A lot of development has been undertaken for the 2016 MRF Challenge with improved tyres and aero package that has made the car significantly quicker and better to drive.”

In its fifth year, the MRF Challenge will feature 17 MRF Formula 2000 race cars, which have been made in India by JA Motorsport, who are based in Coimbatore. The Formula 3 style car has been built by JA Motorsport in technical collaboration with Dallara, and is considered to be the fastest of its kind in Asia. The new car is powered by a 2 litre Mountune Duratec engine with max power of 230 bhp and shod on MRF Z.L.O. tyres. The car will also feature advanced aerodynamics with underbody diffuser and a Hewland 6-speed sequential gearbox.

Mr. J Anand, Managing Director, JA Motorsports, is looking forward to yet another exciting season of racing ahead. He commented, “The great thing about this championship is that we are constantly trying to improve and better the car. This is a testament to the commitment from MRF Tyres to make this series one of the biggest in Asia. The 2016 MRF Challenge features an all-new car which is faster, more powerful and very exciting to race. We have made some upgrades to the car including a new Mountune engine and many aerodynamic changes. This year has been very intense as the race car will see its greatest evolution since the start of the championship 5 years ago. The MRF Challenge continues to establish itself as the premier series in Asia by attracting big names in the motorsport fraternity, from drivers to engineers. ”

MRF Challenge 2016 Calendar:

Round 1: November 17-19, 2016, Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit (WEC Support Race)
Round 2: December 7-9, 2016, Dubai, Dubai Autodrome
Round 3: January 27-29, 2016, New Delhi, Buddh International Circuit
Round 4: February 17-19, 2016, Chennai, Madras Motor Race Track

Driver Line-up:

1. Harrison Newey
2. Juri Vips
3. Mick Schumacher
4. Dylan Young
5. Kimi Schramm
6. Manuel Maldonado
7. Joey Mawson
8. Ralf Aron
9. Pavan Ravishanker
10. Gilles Magnus
11. Yoshiaki Katayama
12. Moraes Cardoso
13. Felipe Drugovich
14. Rinus Van Kalmthout
15. Bobby Eberle
16. Bruna Tomaselli
17. Christophe Mariot