It was only a matter of time before the success of city-based franchise leagues in various sports was reciprocated in the country’s motorsport arena. Racing drivers Aditya Patel and Armaan Ebrahim have put “pen to paper” on what originated as a gym conversation; the result manifests in the form of the X1 Racing League (Xtreme1 Racing League). Slated for a February 2019 debut, it will be made up of eight teams, each comprising two cars and four drivers, including one mandatory female driver.
“We’re trying to make it as unconventional as possible, tailor-made for Indian audiences,” says Patel. “Attention spans are too short right now, and you can’t have long endurance races. So, we’ve kept things to three races per day, on Saturday and Sunday each. In total, all six races will be different in formats. Even our points system is going be really different. You could think of it as playing football with two balls on a pitch,” adds Ebrahim.
The most ‘unconventional’ (and challenging) bit about the proposed league is its street element, akin to the Singapore F1 street circuit. The races will be a combination of track and street events. Noida’s Buddh International and the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) in Chennai are the obvious candidates for the former, while street races will be held in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Mumbai.
“If we do it on the streets, people don’t have to come all the way to the tracks to watch the races. Even in Chennai, the MMRT is pretty far. Here, we are bringing the races to the people. Plus street racing is unique – take Singapore, Monte Carlo etc. They’ve got the audiences there because it just generates more interest amongst the locals.”
But what about permissions in our paperwork-obsessed nation? And more importantly, what about safety concerns, in a country where almost 400 people die daily in road accidents?
“It’s not just about racing on the streets. It’s about doing so in a controlled environment, with approvals by the federations. There’s a basic guideline for the safety barriers, fences etc. We have met them and will start building soon. We know what specs are needed. Once the tracks are finalised, we’ll get cracking on it,” says Patel.
“We had to show them (the authorities) pictures, videos and presentations of how these races are done internationally. So we’ve got the whole plan together and are already working with the FMSCI and the FIA on the circuits commissioning. The drawings have gone to them. That was our biggest challenge, we’ve gone past it,” adds Ebrahim.
Another major talking point about the league will be the composition of each team. Apart from an international male driver and one international Indian male driver, each team is required to feature one young Indian driver and one international female driver as well.
“Women are playing a huge role in the promotion of the sport, but they lie in different pockets. If you bring them all together, you have enough to create an equal environment of competition,” said the league’s founders.
“We believe that our concept will change the way people look at motorsport, not just in India but all over the world as well. We cannot wait for the Indian audiences to experience motorsports like never before,” they added.