New Delhi: For the seven Indian drivers, who will feature in the JK Racing Asia Series, a support race to the inaugural India Formula One Grand Prix this weekend, a good display in front of racing legends and bigwigs could give wings to their motorsport careers.

With an aim to drive a Formula One car in the future, young Indian drivers will try to make their mark in front of the home crowd at the Buddh international circuit and enhance their chances of racing more in the support races.

The series is a stepping stone for Indian drivers, trying to follow in the footsteps of the Narain Karthikeyans and Karun Chandhoks.

Alongside Raj Bharath, Round 5 of the JKRAS (formerly known as Formula BMW Pacific) will have six additional Indian drivers namely Sarosh Hataria, Raahil Noorani, Shashank Ravi Shankar, Vishnu Prasad, A Sandeep Kumar and Mohit Ahuja on the grid in the penultimate round of the JKRAS.

These racers have been given the opportunity based on their performances in the JK Tyre National Racing Championship and they will be participating in the JKRAS driving with the Indian team -- Meco Motorsports.

JK Tyre is the first Indian company to acquire a FIA-accredited series, and as many as eight of the current F1 drivers, including two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, are products of the Formula BMW series, whose rights were acquired by the JK Tyre last year and developed into a new series -- JK Racing Asia Series.

The other seven drivers are: Nico Rosberg, Bruno Senna, Timo Glock, Adrian Sutil, Sergio Perez, Sebastien Buemi and Daniel Ricciardo.

The JKRAS comprises 18 races over six rounds. So far, two rounds have been staged in Malaysia and one each in Indonesia and Singapore. Round 5 -- consisting of races number 13 and 14 will be staged at the Buddh International Circuit on Saturday and Sunday.
   
The championship is poised for a tight finish with six races remaining over two rounds. The series, so far, has witnessed stiff competition among the top three contenders -- Eurointernational's Lucar Auer, Meritus.GP's Afiq Ikhwan and Petronas Mofaz Racing's Nabil Jeffri.

In the series thus far, Austria's Auer leads the championship with 193 points from four rounds while Ikhwan of Malaysia is in second place with 184 points. And with two rounds remaining -- October 29-30 and November 26-27 -- it is tipped to go down to the wire.
    
The JKRAS is organized by Motorsport Asia and the series is run as part of the Asian Festival of Speed (AFOS) and three of the rounds were support races at Formula One weekends.
    
"The presence of seven Indian drivers in the JKRAS this weekend is a testimony to the immense success of our pioneering efforts in putting together a developmental programme for Indian motorsports," said Raghupati Singhania, vice-chairman and MD, JK Tyre and Industries limited.

David Sonenscher, CEO Motorsport Asia Ltd said, "The JKRAS has grown from strength to strength this year and we expect this coming weekend to be an historic event and are truly proud to be a part of it."

 "I have no doubts that the Indian GP will be a successful event. It's exciting times for India and the country should grab this opportunity.

"We are trying to expand our base. Next year, we will try to run our races at majority of F1 circuits. We are in talks with the F1 authorities and I hope that the JKRAS will continue to grow from strength to strength in coming years," added Sonenscher.

(Agencies)