Indian cricket stars Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh have been approached to buy car racing teams, costing USD 5 million each, in the proposed i1 Super Series, scheduled to begin from December 18.
Nine teams, with two cars each, will compete in seven Asian cities in a short calendar, consisting of 14 races on seven weekends.
“Cricket and Bollywood stars and a few top industrialists have already shown a keen interest to own the nine Indian city-based franchise teams. Cricketers Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh have been approached,” said the CEO of event promoters Machdar Motorsports, M Darshan at a media conference here today.
Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar is a huge Formula One fan and even owned a Ferrari car, gifted to him by the manufacturers, till recently. He had sold that car to a Surat-based businessman.
Asked whether India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, a motorcycle enthusiast, had also been approached for the purpose, Darshan said “No comments.”
“The cricketers, if they want, can also form a consortium and own a franchise team,” he said.
The nine franchises are being sold at a base price of USD five million and it is available only by invitation and not auction. The list of owners along with the series’ broadcast partners would be announced in the coming weeks, the promoters said.
Each team will have an Indian and a foreign driver and each franchise will race with two cars, thus forming a 18-car grid.
The series will held in seven Asian cities - New Delhi and Chennai in India, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai in the Arabian Gulf, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Pattaya in Thailand.
The series, which Darshan said is to cost USD 15 million per year to run, will commence on December 18 at the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi which is being readied for inaugural Indian Grand Prix later this year.
It will conclude at the Madras Motor Sports Club track in Irungattukkottai, Chennai, on February 25, 2012.
The five other races will be held at Yas Marina (Abu Dhabi), Losali International (Doha), Dubai Aerodrome (Dubai), Sepang International (KL), Bira (Pattaya) on January 8, 15, 22, February 5 and 12 respectively.
The proposed calendar is subject to approval of world motor sports body FIA.
Each weekend would consist of one qualifying session and two races in sprint format. A total of 14 races would make up the first season of the championship and the drivers would be competing for the title and total prize money of USD two million.
“A pool of drivers has been resourced,” said Vicky Chandhok, who is the president of the Indian motor sports body FMSCI as well as vice president of MMSC.
The racing cars, an open-top purpose-built vehicle, are among the best to race in the world, and can accelerate from zero to hundred in three seconds and touch speeds of 250kmph, the series promoters said.