Coimbatore: Few would think of any connection between Formula One driver Nico Rosberg and this bustling business hub of Tamil Nadu, the second largest city after the state capital Chennai.
Yes, indeed there was a buzz that a vehicle racing here in the JK Tyre Racing Championships was driven by the German driver to win the Formula BMW German title 11 years ago before his Formula One debut in 2003.
Delhi driver Karminder Singh was at the wheel of car No.38 in the Formula BMW class in Round 1 of the Championships which concluded here Sunday. As it turns out, Rosberg had driven the very same car no.38 for his 2002 victory. Interestingly, Sebastian Vettel won the event the following year.
"The car number has changed many times, so has the colour and engine but the chassis remains the same. The serial number of the car is the same: 029," Antonio Arturo Ferrari, CEO of EuroInternational, told IANS at the Kari Motor Speedway.
His team has built all 12 cars for the inaugural season of the Formula BMW India.
There are more interesting stories about Rosberg's car of his junior days.
Antonio, who has spent more than three decades working in a host of series across the world, bought the car from Stefano Coletti's father in 2004. Stefano is leading the 2013 GP2 season with three victories.
"It is the most special car out of the 266 BMW cars made. The chassis has remained intact," said Antonio, who worked as an aerodynamics engineer with Ferrari in the 1981-82 F1 season.
He is another Italian who seems to be upfront, never shy of giving opinions. Asked about Rosberg's F1 career, Antonio says: "He is a good driver who will win races but not the championship. You have to be an Alonso (Fernando) or Lewis Hamilton to do that. You got to have that something extra."
Formula BMW, considered an entry level single seater series in Europe, has finally come to India. Antonio is happy about the development.
"These kids would still need to go to Europe for better career prospects. But after getting used to these cars, they are likely to adjust faster," he said picking 15-year-old Arjun Maini for special mention.