Greater Noida: What do you do with a fancy, expensive F1 race track after three days of racing are over? You start a race-car driving academy of course.
And that is what Jaypee Sports International Ltd (JPSI), which has developed what is officially called the Buddh International Circuit, plans to do at India's first Formula One (F1) race track in Greater Noida once the inaugural race is over. The race will be held from October 28 to October 30 and the company clearly hopes to cash in on all the craze for more speed and burning rubber that it is expected to generate.
So the company plans that come January, motor sports enthusiasts will have a choice of two courses -- the "emotional" and the "basic" programmes -- starting with how to drive a sports car and then on to imparting more skills after which successful drivers will get a certificate.
"This facility will house a race-car driving academy which will be used to impart training to budding drivers and enthusiasts," JPSI managing director Sameer Gaur told IANS. According to the company, which is a part of the Jaypee Group, the race-car driving school will be a key revenue and interest source for the track after the end of the inaugural race.
The race car academy will be set up in partnership with Mercedes-Benz, and would be only the fourth such facility by the German luxury automobile manufacturer after the ones in the US, Germany and China.
"We want to start the academy in January next. By this November, we will be ready with the details on the project," said Mercedes-Benz India managing director and chief executive Peter Honegg.
Other auto-giants such as Mahindra & Mahindra too have plans to use the track for sports activities.
"We have partnered with Jaypee to use the track for two days a year for the next five years. We will utilise the track for sports purposes where our customers and motor sports enthusiasts can come and show their driving skills," a Mahindra official told IANS.
Automobile experts say the facility would provide an impetus to budding motor sports players and also help car companies to position themselves vis-a-vis the sport.
"Earlier there was an infrastructure deficit. There was no such facility. Now the automobile companies will position themselves by showcasing their state-of-the-art products that can be used on the track," said Abdul Majeed, auto practice leader with PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
The 5.14-km circuit has been designed by German architect and racetrack expert Hermann Tilke, who was also associated with similar projects in Malaysia, Bahrain, Indonesia, China, Turkey, the UAE, South Africa, South Korea and the US.