MMRT conducts maiden floodlit test session in a bid to host night races

The Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC) conducted a four-hour floodlit night test session, that attracted over 100 participants on Wednesday.

Karun Chandhok, who has raced at night at Le Mans and F1 testing in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, was part of the floodlit test session at the MMRT on Wednesday.   -  Special Arrangement

The Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC) made history on Wednesday, August 7 as it conducted a four-hour floodlit test session. This is the first of its kind in India and attracted over 100 participants and a clutch of super cars.

The professionals, like former Formula 1 racer Karun Chandhok, Aditya Patel, Chetan Korada, Arfath Mohammed, Karthik Tharani, Ishaan Dodhiwala and ex-rally driver Ranjit Ballal hailed MMSC’s efforts to provide another dimension to motor racing in India.

READ| Chennai’s MMRT race track to hold test run for night races

Karun Chandhok, who has raced at night at Le Mans and F1 testing in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, said: “I think what they (the MMSC) have done is very good. We should do more of these events as they will whet the appetite of the people for the sport. I did a few laps here tonight."

“The visibility was much better than what I expected. Everyone at the club knows the areas to improve. I think, night racing is entirely doable with saloon cars, but with single-seaters, I think there is still a lot of work to do."

The night session was conducted in a full-fledged racing environment with temporary floodlight towers and Marshals manning the posts around the circuit and other safety precautions.

All the participants attended a mandatory pre-session briefing by MMSC vice-president Vicky Chandhok on racing regulations and safety, while the first-timers were taken around in a convoy behind the safety car to learn the racing lines before being allowed to drive at pace.

Former racer Vicky Chandhok said: “I go strictly by the reactions of the participants. The fact that they are smiling ear-to-ear is really important for me. Going by the lap times of the pro drivers, they have matched those done during the day. We will have to make the lighting a bit more brighter."   -  Special Arrangement


MMSC president Ajit Thomas said: “It is a very exciting evening for us. Globally track days are a great way to get people interested in the sport and we realised that with the hot weather in Chennai we needed to do something different. Based on this response and interest, we are hopeful of running a few events."

Former racer and rally champion Harish Samtani applauded MMSC’s latest initiative.

“No question that this is a brilliant idea. Globally, night racing, F1 for instance, is catching up. It brings a different paradigm in motorsport. Of course, this is just the beginning. It is now up to MMSC to set up a proper, safe lighting environment where one can do serious racing. Definitely, it (night racing) is here to stay,” he said.

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