Round 1 of the 2016 MRF Challenge to begin in Bahrain this weekend

Team OD Published: November 15, 2016, 05:58 PM IST

Pietro Fittipaldi leading the pack during a 2015 MRF Challenge race at the MMRT Pietro Fittipaldi leading the pack during a 2015 MRF Challenge race at the MMRT

The 2016 season of the MRF Challenge will begin this weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. It will be the first of four rounds, with the FIA sanctioned series then heading to Dubai, New Delhi and Chennai.

The grid of drivers for the 2016 season appears to be promising. Harrison Newey, son of F1 designer Adrian Newey will make a return to the series, as will Mick Schumacher, son of 7-time F1 world champion, Michael Schumacher. Other drivers of note will be German F4 Champion Joey Mawson, 2015 Italian F4 Champion and F3 race winner Ralf Aron, Japanese F3 Champion Yoshiaki Katayama, and Manuel Maldonado, cousin of former F1 race winner Pastor Maldonado. 17 year-old French F4 runner up Gilles Magnus will also join the championship.

Arun Mammen, Managing Director, MRF Tyres, had this to say, "It is heartening to see the top young drivers choosing to compete in the MRF Challenge 2016 and this year is no different with yet another exciting line-up. We are happy to announce that we will return to the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi along with a return to Dubai and Chennai."

Meanwhile, Narain Karthikeyan, who has played a key role in developing the new car, said, "A lot of development has been undertaken for the 2016 MRF Challenge with improved tyres and aero package that has made the car significantly quicker and better to drive."

The championship now features an all-new MRF Formula 2000 machine, 17 examples of which will take to the track at Bahrain this weekend. The cars have been built by JA Motorsport (in collaboration with Dallara), and feature 2.0-litre Mountune Duratec engines with a power output of 230bhp. The cars also use a Hewland 6-speed sequential gearbox, and feature advanced aerodynamics with an underbody diffuser. The cars will be shod with MRF Z.L.O. tyres.

J Anand, Managing Director, JA Motorsports, stated, "The 2016 MRF Challenge features an all-new car which is faster, more powerful and very exciting to race. We have made some upgrades to the car including a new Mountune engine and many aerodynamic changes. This year has been very intense as the race car will see its greatest evolution since the start of the championship 5 years ago."

MRF Challenge 2016 Calendar:
Round 1: November 17-19, 2016, Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit
Round 2: December 7-9, 2016, Dubai, Dubai Autodrome
Round 3: January 27-29, 2016, New Delhi, Buddh International Circuit
Round 4: February 17-19, 2016, Chennai, Madras Motor Race Track

Driver Line-up:
Harrison Newey
Juri Vips
Mick Schumacher
Dylan Young
Kimi Schramm
Manuel Maldonado
Joey Mawson
Ralf Aron
Pavan Ravishanker
Gilles Magnus
Yoshiaki Katayama
Moraes Cardoso
Felipe Drugovich
Rinus Van Kalmthout
Bobby Eberle
Bruna Tomaselli
Christophe Mariot


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