Rating racing before a home crowd over other milestones, Narain Karthikeyan says getting to drive an F-1 car in the Indian GP would be “the biggest day in my racing career”. The HRT driver, who has been confirmed to race for his team in place of Daniel Ricciardo at Noida later this month, was speaking at ‘Vista', a business festival organised by IIM, Bangalore.
“Driving in the Indian Grand Prix will be great,” he said. “I will be driving in front of my home crowd and there will be a lot of support. I can say that it will be the biggest day in my racing career. Those three days will be special.”
HRT is yet to win a point this season and Narain remained pragmatic about the team's chances in India. “Expectations will be high but HRT is a small team and it is hard for us to get a point,” he said. “So we can't really set a target but we will fight it out and we need to get to the finishing line. Other than that, I will enjoy the race.”
The 34-year-old said he felt the Indian GP would heighten Formula One's popularity in the country. “There are enough fans in India and it is well-followed,” he said. “I hope this will give motorsport a boost and also exposure and publicity. It will help us and the next generation because a lot of corporates are involved.”
Narain had returned behind the wheel of his HRT car for Friday practice at Singapore, having not driven since the German GP in July. He will get another similar run-out at the Japanese GP this weekend.
“The session at Singapore went well,” he said. “It has been about two and a half months since Nürburgring. It is a matter of getting the rhythm back for me. I can then be well-prepared for the race in India. The maximum one can get during a practice session is about 25 laps.
“The idea is to get as much track time and as many miles as possible. Driving in Singapore was great because it is a unique track with few corners but the one at Japan is different.”