Racing Team India's Karthikeyan and Maini opt out of 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours
The Indian outfit will not have the Indian drivers racing this year.
As the last update from Le Mans 24 Hours mentioned with the change in drivers of the #74 Racing Team Eurasia for the 2021 event, it has now been confirmed that neither Narain Karthikeyan and nor Arjun Maini will take part in this year's event.
The sole Ligier JSP217 entry in the LMP2 class under Pro/Am category will feature James Winslow, Tom Cloet and John Corbett (subject to license), as replacements for Karthikeyan and Maini, who were announced to take part few months back, with a third driver not named then.
Due to prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, the difficulties in travel, testing and logistics, has hurt Karthikeyan and Maini. The duo are now aiming to make it in 2022, as they plan to compete in the Asian Le Mans Series again next year, to find a place on the Le Mans 24 Hours grid.
As noted above, the team will compete this year but it is not 100 % clear if it will be sole of Eurasia or have the Racing Team India branding too. The statement from the team said: "Racing Team India regrets to announce that their Indian driver line up led by Narain Karthikeyan will not be able to participate in the 2021 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is scheduled to take place in Le Mans, France, on the 21st & 22nd of August.
"Despite being granted an invitation to participate in this blue riband event of the global motorsport calendar, due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions and other factors, it will not be possible for the teams' drivers (Narain Karthikeyan & Arjun Maini) and other personnel to travel to France for this event. The team has waited until the last possible moment to make this painful decision, but it now seems inevitable that this will not be feasible.
"The team has also considered the current ongoing COVID-19 crisis which is still prevalent in India, and felt that in the light of the continuing severity of the crisis, it would be prudent to delay our participation in this event to the 2022 edition. Disheartened at this outcome, Racing Team India is absolutely determined to make this project a long term success, and they have already started working hard towards their entry in the 2022 Asian Le Mans Series, and beyond.
"We will come back stronger next year, and will not give up on our dream to make this project a success, one which will benefit Indian motorsport in the long term. We are very thankful to all of our sponsors, partners and especially our fans, for their unwavering support."
[Image courtesy: Racing Team India]