Indy: Indian ace Armaan Ebrahim excels at Indianapolis securing his 2012 Indy Lights seat
Indianapolis (USA): India’s Armaan Ebrahim, who has several firsts to his credit, added another by securing a race seat with Bryan Herta Autosport team for the 2012 Indy Lights Series.
Barely three weeks since winding up his Formula 2 campaign in Austria, 22-year old Armaan participated in an intense day of testing here on Tuesday with the BHA team, winners of the Indy 500.
Impressed by Armaan’s ability to handle the 500bhp, V8 engine-powered car, the team extended the offer for the 2012 Indy Lights Championship, making him the first Indian driver to receive this opportunity as part of a strategic plan to move into the 2013 Indy Racing League (IRL), the American equivalent of Formula One.
On a bright sunny day at the Putnam Park Road Course, Armaan drove over 100 laps, clocking top speeds exceeding 270 kmph and impressed all concerned with his handling, pace and fitness as well as the ease with which he adapted to the Indy Lights car.
Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) is one of the finest teams in Indy racing and the reigning Indy 500 champions. Having followed Armaan’s racing career and inviting him for Tuesday’s test, BHA was pleased with the results and happy to offer Armaan the 2012 Indy Lights drive.
Team owner Bryan Herta who had raced alongside Armaan in the A1GP Championships, commented: “Armaan acquitted himself very well with the Indy Lights car today. 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.
“Based on today, 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.”
Commented Armaan: “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’m 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.