If you fancy watching night races, but cant afford to fly out for Le Mans or The Singapore Grand Prix, fret not. Our own Madras Motorsport Race Track at Chennai is gearing up for night race. Club vice-president Vicky Chandok has confirmed that they have set aside funds for installing flood lights. With the addition of flood lights, The MMRT, a FIA grade 2 certified track to be eligible to host night races. Even the Buddh International Circuit, an FIA Grade 1 certified track does not have facilities to host a night race.
But there’s catch. They have opted to go for low level, basic lighting. This is something that is simlar to the Circuit de la Sarthe a.k.a Le Mans and not like the Marina bay street circuit. The Singapore Grand Prix circuit is lit enough to be called a day race.
Vicky Chandok said, “A very professional lighting expert has given us a quote of ₹16 Crores do up the lights just like the Singapore circuit. But we are going for a low lighting just like they have at Le Mans (France). We are planning to install basic lighting that can help the marshals and officials see the incidents on track so that they make sure that no one is injured. Safety is one aspect which I and everyone at the club are very particular about.”
Evaluation of the lighting
The club has scheduled a test run on August 7th from 6pm-11pm to evaluate the arrangments. Based on the outcome of the test, further adjustments and/or testing may be carried out. Karun Chandok, former F1 driver will also be a part of the testing team. While tesing will also be conducted for open-wheeled cars, the main focus is Sedans. They comprise the ITC, IJTC and Super Stock category. Headlights will be made mandatory for night races.
Upgrading the track – a GREEN way
Chandhok said plans are in place to upgrade many facilities at the MMRT and he is keen on eco-friendly measures – including a solar park to generate electricity. “In the long run, we would like to host a lot of endurance races and we are also planning to upgrade the track to support racing in the anti-clockwise direction, which needs about 56 changes to the track”.
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