Mercedes-Benz India successfully concluded the ‘Young Star Driver Programme’ Season II which witnessed young racing aspirants from across India showcasing their raw talent, racing acumen and unsurpassable grit on the Buddh International Circuit. The top six finalists among five thousand nine hundred seventy young aspirants for the Season II of Young Star Driver programme displayed an unmatched array of passion for driving, determination to win and a precise judgment and maturity to handle a high performance AMG car, which is often associated with professional racers. The finals of the Young Star Driver programme Season II was flagged off by Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India and Vicky Chandhok, one of India’s most renowned racing personalities.
The Young Star Driver Programme Season II witnessed a near 100% surge in registrations from Season I and received 5970 applications from young motorsport enthusiasts from across the country. This truly illustrates the grit and racing acumen of youngsters in India and the increasing popularity and eagerness about motorsports in India.
Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, “Mercedes- AMG was born on the racetrack and we are proud of the brand’s global association with different forms of motorsports and our immaculate track record which spells excellence. The current performance of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 team, winning a podium in each of the eleven races is a living example of the highest levels of accomplishment and excellence in the competitive world of motorsports. Inspired by such achievements it was Mercedes-Benz’s vision to identify and nurture young motorsports talent in India, which resulted in the creation of the Young Star Driver Programme in 2013. We are overwhelmed with the tremendous response to Young Star Driver Season II, which further reaffirms our belief in the genuine and high caliber racing talents in India and reassures our heading in the right direction. Mercedes-Benz is proud to pioneer such unique initiatives which not only bears a direct connect with the youngsters of the country, but also leaves them with an indelible impression of brand Mercedes-Benz.”
Kern further elaborated,“The winners of the ‘Mercedes-Benz Young Star Driver Programme Season II’ will earn global exposure by working with the best talents from international racing circuit. They will also learn the finer nuances of improving their racing skills on international racing tracks under the guidance of globally distinguished trainers. This exposure will be of much significance to the young talents in their path to becoming successful motorsports professionals, at the same time inspiring thousands of young minds who dream of a racing career in motorsports.”
In 2013, Mercedes-Benz India created an exclusive platform to spot, nurture and launch young talents with Mercedes-Benz Young Star Driver’. The Season II of the programme which was open for racing aspirants between 18 years to 25 years witnessed 5970 applications for the coveted title, which is double compared to Season I. After a nationwide stringent evaluation process based on different criterions like racing acumen, racing aptitude and accomplishment;the jury headed by renowned Indian racing personality, Vicky Chandhok and his eminent team comprising Radhakrishnan Selvaraj(National Racing Champion and veteran motorsports trainer),Narendhran(National champion in LGB-F4 in 2013),Gaurav Dalal(India’s National Racing Champion in 2008),Goutham Parekh(the JK National Road Racing Championship (Formula Swift), and Amittrajit Ghosh (Current leader of 2013 Indian National Rally Championship & 2012 INRC Champion), shortlisted the candidates who were invited for the two days program at the Buddh International Circuit. The jury members shortlisted 24 participants who were adjudged against each other to qualify for the final 6 slots. The elimination rounds were conducted on 7th August 2014and the grand finale concluded today.
Mercedes-Benz India received 5970 applications from young aspiring racing talents from across 100+ Indian cities and towns. Youngsters from metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, and Pune applied for the coveted ‘Mercedes-Benz Young Star Driver’ title along with their counterparts from non-metro cities and smaller towns like Indore, Bhiwandi, Kottayam, Jodhpur, Jalandhar, Kota, Nashik, Bokaro, Mohali, Nellore, Thrissur, Rajkot, Jabalpur, Kanpur, Udaipur, Cochin and more. The overwhelming response for the Young Star Driver Season II from across Indian geography reiterates Mercedes-Benz’s belief that India indeed has rich potential racing talents that need to be spotted, nurtured and given the right exposure. ‘Mercedes-Benz Young Star Driver’ Season II programme will be a major step for the winners in shaping their racing career.
Vicky Chandhok commented, “My team and I are glad to be associated with Mercedes-Benz Young Star Driver Programme for the second year as it helps us to scout and nurture the best motorsport talent in the country and provide them an international exposure to support their racing dreams. We have witnessed an increasing awareness about motorsports in India and young talents from across the country are increasingly opting for a career in motorsports. The Season I had been a major success and helped establish the Young Star Driver Programme as a coveted platform for our young talents.
In Season II, we received 5970 applicants from small towns and cities beyond the metros, and this trend is extremely encouraging.The process of scouting talent for ‘Mercedes-Benz Young Star Driver’ has been immensely engaging and satisfying for me and my team and we are extremely glad to present the top 6 of the best racing talents from across India at the Buddh International Circuit. The overwhelming response from racing enthusiasts, portray that Mercedes Benz India is on the right track to help youngsters achieve their dreams.”
The six finalists vying for the “Mercedes-Benz Young Star Driver” title competed against each other for the best lap time in CLA 45 AMG. The finalists for the coveted title were G Vikash Anand (Chennai); Ali Yawar Hayat (Bengaluru); Alisha Abdullah (Chennai); Chetan Korada (Chennai); S Raj Bharath (Bengaluru), Advait Deodhar (Mumbai).
The winner of the ‘Mercedes-Benz Young Star Driver Programme Season II’ gets a dream come true opportunity of winning a coveted seat in the AMG Driving Academy PRO-Training in Germany; the runners-up get the popular AMG Driving Academy BASIC & ADVANCED course in India. The winner also gets to meet none other than F1 racing stars and Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One team drivers, Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg, in the Singapore Grand Prix this year.