'i1 will test drivers' skills'

And the i1 Super Series, organised by Machdar Motorsports, attempts to fix just that. The relatively unkown group has come up with a unique 30-minute race format to capture audiences while also helping younger, less-experienced Indian drivers inch closer to a seat in Formula One.

The series, which has signed up Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador, will have nine teams representing nine different cities of the country with each team having one Indian and one international driver per car through the 12-race season to be held in India, the UAE and Malaysia.

The series, run on Radical SR3s, has already made headlines for being a one-of-a-kind city vs city franchise based motor sport event (based on the Indian Premier League) and for the high-rollers who have bought teams or are in queue to be a part of one before it kicks off on January 8 next year.

“We noticed that there really isn’t a step for drivers after karting. They can’t get into Formula One directly, and hence this series will fill that void,” said M Darshan, Machdar CEO here on Tuesday. “Formula One is more a constructor series but here we are looking at bringing out the skill of a driver. They will all be driving the exact same cars and that will eliminate the possibility of one or the other having any undue advantage.”

The two-seater SR3 Radicals have made their name for being cheap, convenient and extremely safe street-legal sports cars with serious performance. The carbon steel frame chassis and the generous use of carbon fibre makes the car as light as 500 kgs.

The super light chassis with a 1340 cc, four-cylinder engine placed in the front, with incredible downforce is bound to entertain the likes of some ex-and-current Formula One drivers -- expected to participate in the series -- while also allowing greenhorns understand a powerful car.

“We chose the car because of how feasible it is. It’s one of the safest and it’s very fast,” said series operations head Lex Akehurst.

The Bangalore-based Machdar also announced that two viable candidates are there to take up the Bangalore franchise, but nothing has been made official yet.

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