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Updated: October 23, 2013 17:09 IST

Racing forward

Nita Sathyendran
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Jose Pottamkulam Photo:S.Gopakumar
THE HINDU
Jose Pottamkulam Photo:S.Gopakumar

Racing enthusiast Jose Pottamkulam, team principal of M&N racing, is off to the F1 races this year too

Jose Pottamkulam is all set to go full throttle at the Indian Grand Prix this year too. The city-based racing enthusiast and team principal of M&N Racing, perhaps the only team from Kerala in the world of Indian motorsport, will once again try his luck at the support races of the Formula One Championship that is being held at the Buddh International circuit in Noida this weekend. Support races are usually held in the lead up to Formula One weekends. They are an opportunity to showcase local motorsport talent on an international scale. Last year, Jose, or Ootta as he is popularly known, fielded four cars, with one of his drivers, Akshay Luciano Bacheta, coming in third overall.

However, unlike his last two attempts, this time Jose says he will not be racing cars under M&N’s banner. “We decided not to field cars at the event because of the cost; this year you need at least 80,000 USD to run one car, which turned out to be rather prohibitive for a relatively small outfit like ours. So this year we are focussing on providing management support to Parth Ghorpade, who raced for M&N last season,” says Jose.

Jose, who left for Delhi on Wednesday, seems thrilled at being associated with Ghorpade, the reigning Asian Champion Formula Pilota China. “Parth is barely 20 years old and hails from Kolhapur, Maharashtra. He is a rising star on the international motorsport circuit, having won a string of titles beginning with the JK Tyre National Karting Championship (U 12) in 2002. He drove a great ride at last season’s support races and is only one of four Indian drivers of the 16 at the support races this year, the others being Aswin Sunder, Vikas Anand, and Parthiva Sureshwaran. This year they are up against stiff international competition from the likes of Tio Ellinias, Arthur Pic and Harry Ticknell,” says Jose.

Now that F1 is giving the Indian GP a go in 2014, Jose says that it’s all the more important for Indian motorsport to accelerate their game. “In the three years since F1 came to India nothing much has been done for motorsport in terms of infrastructure. We still have only three good circuits – at Buddh, Chennai and Coimbatore – and not enough of go-karting venues to hone talent. Popularity for motorsport is consequently decreasing. And for that to improve we need to get rid of official apathy. That’s why it’s important that youngsters like Parth – and Ashwin, Vikas and Parthiva too – do well at the races.”

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