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Old 17th September 2010, 21:01   #1
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Default Why is Road Racing / Tracking not a popular sport for individuals in India?

I understand Tracking is an expensive sport, but its directly proportional to the complexity of the car so why is it that I do not hear much on real track days happening in india. I had no clue that the Chennai race track was built in the late 80s. For such a wonderful facility available to the southern friends, why isnt the track used pretty much throughout the year every weekend or even every other weekend?

Do we have clubs that go out on the track, what about people proficient enough and familiar enough on the track to become instructors for newbies.

How many tracks do we have in india? and how many are coming up? Do you think now is the right time to entice the young/old rich and not so rich people to take part in this motorsport? What will it take?

I do a decent amount of tracking here in the states and this last summer has been action packed with more than 20 days and still 5-6 days to go. It hasnt been cheap but I have always been a real petrol head and cant imagine my life without it, now that I am moving back to india.

I know we have a lot of posers but I am sure since they are into cars, once you get them hooked esp with good instructions, they would make it a habbit and rather than going on sunday drives would tear up the cars in the sense they are meant to be torn.

What are your thoughts.

On a similar note, do you think north india and possibly western india could do with country clubs that cater to track junkies?
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Old 19th March 2019, 05:42   #2
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Default Re: Why is Road Racing / Tracking not a popular sport for individuals in India?

It probably has more to do with practicality than anything else.

First, it needs to be a half day or one day event at most. In America you have multiple tracks where you can leave home in the morning and be back at night, having done a complete day of track racing/driving. That is very impractical in India, unless you live close to one of the few race tracks.

Secondly, a track even needs an infrastructure in place that needs to be organised. For example, an ambulance, a crane, track marshals etc. This isn't organised by the tracks (I don't understand it either, as it is a good source of income) and hence needs to be organised by somebody who will charge anybody a fee, or by a group of friends doing everything for themselves.

Third, cost is a major issue. This is not a country where you can buy cheap cars that handle well and can be used for the track. Other than perhaps the Zen and the Esteem, very few good handling and 'cheap to make quick' cars are available.

Fourth, racing is not a huge part of Indian culture, unfortunately. The first question when you buy a car is 'what mileage do you get'. Given that, racing would be a niche sport at best.

Yes, tracks can be set up in various parts of the country pretty easily, but the chance of them succeeding financially through track days is very doubtful indeed
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Old 19th March 2019, 10:05   #3
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Default Re: Why is Road Racing / Tracking not a popular sport for individuals in India?

Having been there and done that as an amateur and during a professional race, let me combine Pganapathy and my inputs into one structured response

I was born a Fangio

People climb into the driver seat and extend their manhood and name into Schumacher. They initially follow the pace car who show the lines then they think their memory is like Shakunatala Devi and clomp their foot down. No one really tells them about throttle inputs, car balance etc. They jump into their road cars and within the first 2 laps, end up spinning out of control or crashing into a barrier and "oh my god!", insurance will not pay! If they survive this, by the 5th lap, the car is overheating.

I have experienced this first hand (I am also guilty although, I never spun out or overheated but I burnt my tyre!). Second time around, I followed the pace car, went over the lines, then went back into the pits. Watch people crash out then went back in.

Lack of Rookie Driving Schools

Plenty of excellent race tutors and coaches but their time is devoted to actual race series. On formal track days, a briefing is provided but sometimes, it is out in the paddock to large crowd so stuff gets missed.

Availability of Circuits

We have three good circuits. The Buddh is very expensive (lets say, it is cheaper to transport cars to Dubai and host a race series, than to host an event locally). It is maintained to the highest standard but it is really suited to high speed machinery and supercars. Your humble car will be overwhelmed.

MMSC is great fun and open to all most weekend but the heat means both cars and tarmac melt between March-September. The limited months get blocked for the different automotive events. Add to that, mornings are reserved for bikes so time gets wasted especially if you have come from afar

Kari is also fun, I understand (never tried it) but it is dumbed down for rookies due to the long straight and the lack of roll cages in standard cars. It is also booked out heavily for car testing.

Costs

Many factors - Getting there unless you live near the circuit. One also needs a set of tyres, brake pads and fuel. At least Rs 30k a pop. Also accommodation !!

Suitability of Cars

Very few cars are suited for on track use. Honda City's hate corners, Octy RS's steam out/ Ideally, one should build a track oriented car by stripping down a tin top, adding a roll cage and carrying a set of slicks but it is not easy. Most folks abroad stick a trailer on their fully loaded SUV and drive. Does not happen here. Driving one of these to the track will give you a headache

Lack of Actual Track Days

These cost money for reasons which pganapathy outlined. Either these events get too crowded or too sparse. Not really a business case. MMSC have tried. My guess is also that the FMSCI enforces high standards which cost money.

It takes time

There are so many parameters to learn. I barely scratched the surface as an amateur rookie when on the track. During the VW Race weekend, I learnt so much more and yet there was so much more to understand. i.e.
  • Your powerband sweetspots
  • Braking points
  • Cornering thresholds
  • Ultimate grip
  • Your personal limits

Millennials want it all now. Indians want it all cheaply

Last edited by Aditya : 19th March 2019 at 17:13. Reason: Typos
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