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Armaan first Indian to secure a slot at Indy Lights

Wednesday September 14, 2011 05:04:21 PM, Madhusree Chatterjee, IANS

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Indianapolis: Armaan Ebrahim has become the first Indian to secure a place in the coveted Indy Lights motor racing series following a successful test session with the Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) team at the Putnam Park Road Course here.

The 22-year old Armaan impressed the BHA team Tuesday with his pace and handling of the 500bhp, V8 engine-powered car that often exceeded speeds of 270 kmph and offered the Indian a slot in the 2012 Indy Lights series that will be a stepping stone to progress to the iconic Indy Racing League (IRL), the American equivalent of Formula One, in 2013.

BHA is among the top teams in the Indy Lights and earlier this year, won the prestigious Indy 500 race.

Team owner Bryan Herta who had raced alongside Armaan in the A1GP Championships, commented: "Armaan acquitted himself very well with the Indy Lights car. Although it is quite a bit different than some of the cars he has driven recently, he was quickly on the pace and we were pleased with the feedback he was able to provide to his engineers."

"We are actively working to put a programme in place around Armaan to not only make him the first Indian driver on the grid of the Indy Lights Series, but also ultimately the first Indian driver in the winner's circle."

Armaan said he is looking forward to the experience of racing in America.

"It has been five years since I drove a car without a paddle shift and I was quite amazed as to how quickly I was able to adapt to the car. Though not as nimble as a GP2 car, it is a great car to drive and I was able to put in quick laps fairly soon.

"The team and the way that they went about their work on track were very impressive and after a long time, I feel extremely comfortable in such an environment. The engineers, mechanics and the team manager were thoroughly professional and I am sure we will have some good times ahead racing in America with strong results.

"It was good to have Bryan at the test and he was extremely helpful. I am also happy to have the support of Denny Young from Elevation Group who along with Raghavendra Patnaik from FairPlay are now quite confident to put together a sponsorship package that meets the criteria."

With Armaan becoming the first Indian driver to enter Indy racing, there is rising interest among sponsors both in India and the United States.

"There is a lot of interest in India and Indian markets within the United States and Armaan crossing over to Indy presents a solid platform to companies to get on board and take advantage," said Denny Young, former Head-Motorsport at IMG and Owner, Elevation Group, a leading American Sports Management company and the marketing partners of Bryan Herta Racing.

There has been a spike in interest in Armaan among Indian companies since the announcement of his move to America with Indy racing.

"The response we have received from Indian companies with business interests in America and vice versa have been encouraging. Armaan racing at Indy will create a sporting platform that marketers did not have thus far to link their business interests between India and the United States.

"We are confident about contracting some major sponsors for Armaan in the near future" said Raghavendra Patnaik, Managing Director, FairPlay Management Pvt Ltd, the company marketing Armaan's sponsorships in India.







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