- Former World champ Mick Doohan’s thumbs up for MRF Challenge
Chennai, February 9: The ongoing MRF Challenge provides an ideal platform for young racing aspirants to showcase their talent and also secure exposure ahead of the new international season, and hence, former five-times World 500cc champion Mick Doohan from Australia said he decided to enter his 16-year old son, Jack, in one of Asia’s premier winter series.
Speaking to the Media on the sidelines of the third and final round of the MRF Challenge at the MMRT here today and soon after his son finished third in Race-1, 53-year Doohan, said: “The primary reason (for Jack Doohan to enter MRF Challenge) is that my son (Jack) turned 16 only this January and so this is his first real series. I was in Dubai a few years ago and a number of the Australians I knew were driving in MRF Challenge. I was also in Bahrain. So, I had a feel for the series. We had heard a lot of good things about it (MRF Challenge). It was pretty easy for us to get here, and get some experience.
“For a winter series, this (MRF Challenge) is a great platform. This offers us some real race miles before the start of the European season. The cars are competitive, the platform is basically identical. This is what attracts a lot of the drivers. There is a wide variety of drivers here. It is like a starting school. It is great to be here in Chennai and experience the racing. This (MMRT) is a great circuit. I actually like circuits with a little bit of character. It adds attraction to the series.”
Mr Arun Mammen, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, MRF Ltd, who presided over the Media interaction, said: “MRF has been associated with motorsports for the last 30 years. Every year, it has been a wonderful journey. Here at the MRF Challenge, all the cars are the same, identical cars, same tyres, specs etc. So what differentiates these cars is the caliber of the drivers and the skill tests. And it is a dream learning platform for them to master their skills and gain exposure. That is what we are trying to do with MRF Challenge.
“Apart from motorsports, we are also active in various championships, including gravel and rally championships in UK, Europe and Australia. So, the MRF Challenge is an extension of our endeavor to produce quality racing and rally tyres.”
Doohan, when asked about his son’s choice of four-wheeler racing instead of bikes, said; “He has been riding dirt bikes and we have a go-kart track on our property. Because his friends were driving cars and he hurt himself on a bike when very young, he never really showed interest (in bike racing). On a motorcycle, if you make a mistake you crash. Also, thankfully, in a car, he is not judged against what his father did.”
Doohan also fielded questions on the current state of MotoGP, the evolution of the machinery and the on-track rivalries. “The talent today is there for all of us to see. The top guys are the same as in any period in the sport. There are some young guys coming through. The bikes are a little bit easier to ride with all the electronics and other bits and pieces on the bike which are still prototypes, like the Formula 1 cars. The rivalry (among the riders) is good because it keeps some talk going about the sport.
About the chances of current World champion Marc Marquez, becoming an all-time great rider, Doohan said: “He certainly has the desire. As long as he doesn’t burn out, he has plenty of time left in him (to add to his five titles).”
ABOUT MRF TYRES
Motorsports in India is synonymous with MRF. In fact, the development and popularity of various forms of the sport could be directly attributed to the pioneering efforts of the company, be it racing, rallying, motocross or karting. To encourage motorsport enthusiasts MRF has spared no money in offering World-class facilities. The development of MRF Power House – a modern motorsports facility has been a boon to the Indian drivers, who wished to compete and test themselves against international standards. The centre is a testament to the commitment of MRF to raising the bar of Indian motorsports.
Being the largest promoters of motorsports in India, MRF has the added advantage of being able to use the racetrack to test the tyres.
MRF is the only tyre company in India to have developed formula car tyres, world- class rally tyres for tarmac and dirt, motocross tyres and also FIA-CIK karting tyres. Today, the company caters to almost all segments of the tire industry and is proud to be the manufacturer of the largest range of tyres. Heavy-duty truck and bus tyres, passenger car tyres, two-wheeler tyres and farm tyres are just some of the tyres that MRF manufactures.
The one thing that puts MRF head and shoulders above its competition is the fact that MRF is the only tyre company in India without any foreign technical collaboration. The company is where it is today, thanks mainly to its know-how and its ability to develop indigenous technology. With this technology, MRF now supplies original equipment tyres to multinational manufacturers such as Honda, Hyundai,Renault, Nissan, Mahindra, Tata, Volkswagen, Toyota,Suzuki and Ford. In total, MRF exports to more than 90 countries. MRF has been the undisputed leader in the tyre industry for more than three decades now, notwithstanding the competition from various multinational and Indian tyre brands.