Karun Chandhok To Race In The FIA GT World Series In 2013
The news is finally out! I have been waiting to hear Karunâ€™s racing plans for 2013 and he finally made an announcement a few hours back that he would be racing in the FIA GT World Series with Seyffarth Motorsport. The series is run with GT3-spec cars. His off track plans were already announced in early March when he was confirmed as a part of the newly formed FIA Driversâ€™ Commission.
After half season in Formula1 with HRT in 2010 followed by a reserve driver stint with Caterham in 2011, Karun raced in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2012 with JRM Racing producing impressive results on a consistent basis. However, JRMâ€™s financial difficulties meant that they pulled out of participation in the WEC in 2013 leaving Karun team-less. However, he partnered with Narain Karthikeyan in 2012 to clinch the Race of Champions Asia title. (Read: Narain Karthikeyan And Karun Chandhok In The Race Of Champions)
The new look FIA GT World Series debuts in 2013 and along with Karun, Ricardo Zonta (former BAR Honda racer, famously remembered for his role in the Hakkinen-Schumacher overtaking at the end of the Kemmel Straight at the Spa Francorchamps) is the other Formula1 driver who has announced his participation. Nine times World Rally Champion Sebastian Loeb and the Vice President of the FIA Driversâ€™ Commission will also be participating in this Championship. Interestingly, Karun will join compatriot and former A1 Grand Prix team-mate Armaan Ebrahim (who became the â€˜firstâ€™ Indian to â€˜confirmâ€™ his participation) in this series. However, they will be driving for different teams this season.
Karunâ€™s team-mate will be Jan Seyffarth, who raced in his family run team (Seyffarth Motorsport) in the German GT series last year. While the team raced the SLS AMG in the series last year, I have been unable to get a confirmation on what car they will use in the opening round next weekend. The team website and other details are yet to be updated. However, they will have a choice between illustrious manufacturers like Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Lamborghini, Mclaren, Mercedes and Porsche.
2013 will be an important year for Karunâ€™s motorsport career and a combined program in the GT Championship and Le Mans should do him good. In the GT Championship, it will be interesting to see how he fares against his fellow Indian driver (Armaan) as there were quite a few sparks that flew when the pair shared duties for A1 Team India. And given that the championship has two Indian drivers, will it be visiting the Buddh International Circuit anytime soon? Could the 6th and unconfirmed round be India? (Read the 2013 FIA GT World Series Calendar below).
While a good season in 2013 may not guarantee a second stint in Formula1, what it could do is get the manufacturer teams in Le Mans, WEC and GT Championships interested in Karunâ€™s driving with a possible race seat in 2014. Come join me in wishing Karun â€˜all the bestâ€™ for 2013!
The FIA GT World Series 2013 Calendar:
- Round 1: GT France (Nogaro) â€“ 1st April
- Round 2: GT Belgium (Zolder) â€“ 21st April
- Round 3: GT Netherlands (Zandvoort) â€“ 7th July
- Round 4: GT Slovakia (Slovakia Ring) â€“ 18th August
- Round 5: GT Spain (Navarra) â€“ 13th October
- Round 6: TBC (probably Middle East) â€“ 16th or 23rd November
Read earlier posts on Karun Chandhok and Indian Motorsport:
- Narain Karthikeyan Switches From Formula1 To AutoGP In 2013
- Should Narain Karthikeyan And Karun Chandhok Drive In The i1 Super Series
And for those who missed the excitement and drama of the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, do read ‘Emotions, Tensions and Vettel score a win in Sepang‘.