Five female racers set to make Indian Racing League debut
Updated: Nov 9, 2022
The Indian Racing League is set to make its debut at the Hyderabad Street Circuit in November, with five city-based teams that will line up a mix of male/female international and local drivers.
Indian Racing League is set to make its debut from November 19th to December 11th, with a five city-based format and a 4 round calendar including two events at Hyderabad Street Circuit and two at Chennai.
The five teams will represent the cities of Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Goa, with a four-driver line up each: a male international racer, a female international racer and two local drivers.
The series - which aims to establish itself as India's premier championship - is promoted by Indian company RPPL and run with the support of Italian car manufacturer Wolf Racing, who will operate all the cars centrally to ensure that every driver will compete on an equal playing field. The cars employed will be the Wolf GB08 Thunder prototypes, also used in the Italian Sport Prototype Championship.
Wolf is in fact aiming to replicate the Italian success of its light and fast 220hp race car in the brand-new Indian Racing League.
"The Indian Racing League will draw the world racing community to India, which will in turn draw the interest of suppliers and industry stakeholders to the sector" - commented Akhilesh Reddy, Chairman of RPPL. "Also, the Indian Racing League will further drive Indian communities to root for their respective cities and strengthen the fraternity of motorsports in India."
Some high profile racing drivers have been contracted by the five teams, including the five female racers.
17-year-old Lola Lovinfosse will race for Hyderabad Blackbirds, alongside Porsche factory driver and 2016 Le Mans 24H winner Neel Jani, Akhil Rabindra and Anindith Reddy.
A big name in European karting competitions, Lovinfosse made the switch to race cars in 2021, making her debut in Spanish F4. She contested a second partial campaign in 2022, before taking a race win at her first ever outing in the Wolf prototype, in the Coupe de France des Circuits round at Le Mans.
GT4 star Gabriela Jílková will race for the Goa Aces team, sharing the wheel with South African F3 racer Raoul Hyman, Sohil Shah and Amir Syed.
Jílková is a versatile driver with experience spanning from Formula Renault 2.0, touring cars, Praga prototypes, GT4. In the last couple of years, the Czech racer has climbed the ranks of the German and European GT4 series, also clinching the GT Winter series title.
Another GT4 specialist that will head to India is Célia Martin, 31, from France.
Martin previously raced in the Formula E support series Jaguar I-PACE eTrophy, before she became a real expert of one of the most incredible racetracks in the world: the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Célia was part of the all-female crew 'Girls Only' that won the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring in 2021 and currently competes in the NLS series.
Alongside Martin at Speed Demons Delhi, we will find Australian GT racer Mitch Gilbert, Akash Gowda and Shahaan Ali Mohsin.
Chennai Turbo Riders will line up 16 year-old Nicole Havrda. The young Canadian began karting in 2018 and won several national competitions, before starting testing F4 machinery. She was part of last year's W Series selections in Arizona and has raced F3 in the US as well. Havrda was also announced as one of the nine finalists for a seat in a GT4 program by American organization The Heart of Racing.
Nicole will share the wheel with former GP2 and ELMS driver Jon Lancaster, Parth Ghorpade and Vishnu Prasad.
While the Bangalore Speedster's seat was initially destined to Australian racer Emily Duggan - a driver with V8 Touring Car Series and Super3 Series experience - W Series Academy driver and Filipina up-and-coming star Bianca Bustamante was later announced as part of the Bangalore team and therefore will become the fifth demale racer on the grid.
At 17, Bustamante became one of the two youngest drivers on the W Series grid and entered the Academy program. In her first year in race cars, she made the transition from karting straight to Formula Regional machinery when she was selected in the all-female championship. Nevertheless, she scored points at debut with a ninth place in the Miami street circuit's first round.
Alongside her W Series campaign, Bustamante has also tried to maximize her track time with 4 races in the USF Juniors championship, part of the Road to Indy program, where she also scored a top ten at debut at Ozarks.
Bustamante will now have the chance to gain more experience in the Indian Racing League, at the end of her rookie season in race cars: she will share the wheel with FIA WEC and Le Mans podium finisher Oliver Webb, Anshul Gandhi and Rishon Rajeev.
The series is the evolution of a 2019 concept that saw international racing drivers - both male and female - taking turns in Formula BMW cars, in city-teams franchises.
With direct operational support of the Wolf racing team, the new championship has the mission of making India a popular motorsport destination worldwide attracting international drivers and developing local talents.
The five teams will hit the track for the first time at Madras International Circuit on 14th November for pre-season testing, before four consecutive racing weekends starting from 19th November, at India's first ever street circuit event in Hyderabad.
2022 Indian Racing League Calendar Hyderabad Street Circuit / November 19-20 Chennai / November 25-27 Chennai / December 2-4 Hyderabad Street Circuit / December 10-11