TRAVEL CRUNCHES UNDER THE TYRES OF the Lexus and birds chirp their joy at the rising sun as we trundle through the pit lane of the Kari Motor Speedway. In normal course the ES 300h’s pure electric mode would be the party piece and the deafening silence of the powertrain does afford us an opportunity to creep up to the parabola without disturbing the flock of peacocks that have descended on what used to be the first corner. Back when I reported on the racing championship, the inside of the parabola was where I would park myself to snap the guaranteed first corner mayhem. Tin-tops, four abreast, a battle of wits on the brakes, and at least one car leaving behind a bumper along with a sizeable chunk of said driver’s ego. Single seaters, the lack of bodywork making the hotshots a little more circumspect into turn 1, yet my amateur fingers once snapped a car flying through the air, upside down at that, and driven by no less than the man behind this track B Viji.
That’s the thing about race tracks. Every inch of tarmac has a story to tell. And there’s history under all those layers of bitumen. These are hallowed grounds. Before it became a race track this was the runway where S Karivardhan flew his microlights. An engineering genius and universally hailed as the father of Indian motorsport, he was responsible for making single seaters reliable and affordable, kicking off the careers of scores of Indian racers including Narain Karthikeyan.
Fast forward to the 25th year of his death anniversary, when the world turned upside down. Work from home. Our partners cutting our hair. Going nuts doing the dishes. But while we were praying for a dishwasher, the guys at the Kari Motor Speedway were hard at work. They used the forced downtime to not just resurface the track but implement massive changes. A new sequence of corners at the start. A completely new back section. Chopping off the Mickey Mouse section. A new drag strip. And B Viji and his team did all this without so much as a murmur. We didn’t hear a thing.
IN NORMAL COURSE THE ES 300H’S PURE ELECTRIC MODE WOULD BE THE PARTY PIECE
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