Bengaluru-based racer Kush Maini (15) will step up to Formula Cars this year with Finnish team Koiranen GP. After a very good season in karting last year, the highlight of which was becoming the first Asian to win the Trofeo Andrea Margutti, Kush will compete in the SMP Formula 4 championship along with a full campaign in the newly launched Spanish Formula 4 championship.

The Finnish team, who are based out of Madrid in Spain, will organise both championships, which in turn will see the youngster compete in 45 races during the course of the season.

Formula 4 is widely considered the second step after karting, on the ladder to Formula One. The SMP series will focus on tracks in the Northern regions of Europe, namely Russia, Holland and Finland, while the Spanish Formula 4 series will feature rounds primarily in Spain but will also run a few rounds in Portugal.

'A chance to focus on driving'

Speaking about his move to cars, Kush said, “Both the SMP and Spanish Formula 4 championships are one-make championships, which means all the cars will be equal. This gives me a chance to focus on my driving, while at the same time learning various tracks I have never competed on. I’m quite excited about starting my car racing career and I’m aiming for a Top 5 in both championships, although I will strive to win both”

Karun Chandhok, who mentors both Kush and his elder brother Arjun Maini (who competes in the European F3 series), said, “The move from karts to cars is always very hard to judge and in the end, we left it to Kush to decide. The offer from Koiranen Racing to do a double program was very interesting because he will end up doing 45 races plus a lot of testing in a single year! It's going to be a busy year but with the amount of experience he gets, the move to cars will certainly be justifiable. Kush is a good, hard racer and it's going to be exciting to watch his progress this season. A top five result in the championship is certainly the target and one that is achievable.”

Kush will now focus his attention on his first few tests, which will occur on the Valencia and Navarra circuits, scheduled at the end of this month.