The world’s first ever professional franchise-based motorsport league is set to commence from October 2019. The X1 Racing League will try to emulate other successful city-based sporting leagues like the Premier League (Football) in the UK or the cricket-based Indian Premier League (IPL) in India.
The series has been envisioned by two racing drivers who have represented India in an International racing event. 30-year-old, Aditya Patel who has represented the country in the Audi R8 LMS Cup and 29-year-old, Armaan Ebrahim who raced in the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series and the Formula 2 Championship in 2011 are the founders of the series. The two drivers have joined hands to bring custom-made two-seater sports car racing league to India. The 12 race weekends of the series have been confirmed to be held at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida and the Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai while the third venue for one city based race for the first season is yet to be announced.
The X1 Racing League will have 8 teams representing different cities each comprising of 2 cars and four drivers. The series will feature 12 race weekends, with 24 race days featuring a total of 40 races. A total of 32 drivers which will include men and women with racing experience, both domestic and international will compete. Additionally, local talent will also be sourced through an initial E-Sports league on a racing simulator that will go on a tour across many cities in India. Ebrahim mentioned that they will target schools, colleges, and even shopping malls where anyone can try their hand at the simulator. The individuals who fastest lap times from each city will be summoned to race against some of the best racing drivers India and the world has to offer and possibly see a future career in motorsports.
X1 Racing will try and rope in well known racing drivers around the world which could include former Formula One, Formula E, Indy 500, Le Mans and NASCAR race for some of the teams in the league. Each team will comprise of one international male driver, one international female driver, one Indian international driver and one Indian domestic driver. The series has entered into a long-term exclusive commercial rights partnership with Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), granting exclusive rights including sponsorship, broadcasting, advertising, intellectual property, franchising and new league rights, amongst others exclusively for city-based 4W racing events and/or competitions in a league format.
X1 Racing League co-founder Aditya Patel stated that the league will charge Rs 5.5 crore for a team which is an all-inclusive amount that will give them full support of technicians, engineers, race car development, marketing, PR and more. Racing driver salaries will be capped to maintain a level playing field in order to not let costs get out of hand. Additionally, when asked regarding the possibility of motorcycle racing format of the same nature, Armaan Ebrahim stated that they have looked at the possibility as it is a more cost-effective form of racing. However, the idea is being evaluated for future expansion.
The E-Sports league will be held in different cities across India from August to September 2019. Following which, the actual racing events will start from October to conclude in December 2019. More details regarding the calendar and the final fully developed race cars will be revealed at a later date.