Madras Motor Race Track conducts first night test

The Madras Motor Race Track conducted a four-hour floodlit test on Wednesday as it steps up its preparation for hosting India’s first night race.

Madras Motor Race Track conducts first night test

The 3.7km circuit around the outskirts of Chennai was lit through temporary floodlight towers, while cars themselves carried headlamps to supplement the visibility levels.

The circuit had previously made it clear that it does not aim to replicate Formula 1 races in Singapore, Bahrain or Abu Dhabi, where thousands of floodlights combine to provide day-like illumination.

Instead, the Madras Motor Sport Club has taken inspiration from the Le Mans 24 Hours, and the primary purpose of the lights is to assist marshal in spotting accidents and retrieving stranded vehicles.

Several notable drivers took part in the test, including ex-Formula 1 and Le Mans 24 Hours racer Karun Chandhok, sportscar ace Aditya Patel, multiple national-level champion Karthik Tharani and ex-rally driver Ranjit Ballal.

Chandhok, who has first-hand experience of night racing from his Le Mans exploits, said: “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. 

“A huge amount of investment is required to get the level of lighting up to what you need for single-seaters. 

“Aditya [Patel] and I raced each other in saloon cars and were doing 1:55.4, 1:55.0. That is the pace what people do during daytime. So, it shows the level of lighting is good to race at night with a little improvement.”

Each driver went through a mandatory pre-session briefing, before being allowed on track under the floodlights.

Volkswagen Motorsport India provided race-spec Polo, Vento and Ameo cars for hire, while several drivers chose to bring their own cars. In total, over a 100 cars completed the test, up from the 40 figure that was initially targeted.

Night test

Night test

Photo by: Anand Philar

MMSC president Ajit Thomson was pleased with how the first test went, but admitted that work needs to be done on the lighting system to make the track suitable for saloon car racing at night.

The club plans to eventually have a permanent lighting system in place.

MMSC president Ajit Thomas said: “We have some temporary lighting in place as a test, but if we are going to do this on a long-term basis, we will be getting a higher grade lighting on the track.

"The response has been great with a cross-section of drivers – beginners and professionals. Based on this response and interest, we are hopeful of running a few events. Initially, may be more track days, some short events and then endurance races.”

Vicky Chandhok added: “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. 

“Overall, it is nice to see people having a great time here. We are trying to make motorsport fun and develop more fans to come here and enjoy themselves as against serious, hardcore racing.”

 
shares
comments
TCR Australia promoter closing in on TA2 deal

Previous article

TCR Australia promoter closing in on TA2 deal

Next article

Ex-Volkswagen chief Ferdinand Piech dies aged 82

Ex-Volkswagen chief Ferdinand Piech dies aged 82
Load comments

About this article

Series General
Author Rachit Thukral
The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction Prime

The real-life racing rogues stranger than fiction

The forthcoming Netflix film linking the world of underworld crime and motorsport plays on a theme that isn't exactly new. Over the years, several shady figures have attempted to make it in racing before their dubious dealings caught up with them.

General
Jan 31, 2021
The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home Prime

The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home

Keeping trophies and momentos of key triumphs is par for the course for motorsport professionals, but what are the most cherished souvenirs picked up by the drivers and engineers who have seen and done it all?

General
Dec 26, 2020
Why motorsport should consider a mid-week future Prime

Why motorsport should consider a mid-week future

International motorsport has been the preserve of weekends, but the pandemic forced Formula E to get creative with its Berlin season finale as four races were held mid-week. Should FE and other series break with tradition and repeat the experiment?

General
Oct 5, 2020
How pragmatic principles made Ron Tauranac a design legend Prime

How pragmatic principles made Ron Tauranac a design legend

Jack Brabham's 1966 world championship campaign in his eponymous car was also a defining moment in the career of designer Ron Tauranac, who would apply the same ethos to his ultra-successful production racing car business, Ralt.

General
Jul 23, 2020
The ingrained failure motorsport must fix to avoid 'turf wars' Prime

The ingrained failure motorsport must fix to avoid 'turf wars'

OPINION: The FIA has warned that the major motorsport championships must not get engaged in 'turf wars' when it comes to the urgent need to re-organising the 2020 calendars, but there are tedious past problems that must be addressed to satisfy all.

General
May 3, 2020
The tech changes that could seal a Nordschleife record Prime

The tech changes that could seal a Nordschleife record

Volkswagen's I.D. R smashed the Pikes Peak record and now its attention has been turned to Nurburgring Nordschleife. The ultimate benchmark there may appear far out of reach, but technical changes to the car have made a new electric record possible

General
May 3, 2019
The story of motorsport's single biggest safety advance Prime

The story of motorsport's single biggest safety advance

Today, the HANS device is commonplace in motorsport, but it wasn't initially greeted with open arms. This is the story of a major safety breakthrough and the man whose invention has saved countless lives.

General
Feb 10, 2019
Motorsport's greatest imposters Prime

Motorsport's greatest imposters

There are many tightly enforced rules in motorsport – some complex, some simple, but there have been a few extraordinary instances of teams and drivers bending the rules and getting away with it

General
Dec 26, 2018