After a thrilling start to the 2023 Indian Racing League, the second round of the championship promises to be box-office material. In an exclusive interview with Asian Motorsport, Chennai Turbo Riders driver Nicole Havrda spoke about her return to the Indian single-seater prototype championship and her experiences racing in Asia.

By Nida Anis

Racing in India “definitely a big difference”

Havrda, originally from Canada but having raced extensively in America, described her transition to Asian motorsport as a significant change. She competed in the inaugural season of the Indian Racing League last year, achieving a best finish of fifth.

“[Racing in India is] definitely a big difference,” she said. “I race in America actually, because Canada there’s not much racing because of the weather, and because we only have a few tracks.”

“The drivers are definitely different, because you’ve got drivers from around the world. We have drivers from mostly America, we have a few New Zealand guys too, but definitely different drivers, a different style of driving too, I’ve noticed,” she added.

“It’s great to be back here in IRL though. It’s just good experience, you know, in the wintertime. You don’t really do much, so I would’ve probably just been testing. It’s good to be continuing racing.”

Returning to the Indian Racing League

Reflecting on her return to the Indian Racing League, Havrda appreciated the improvements that have been made to the championship.

“It’s definitely more organised, so a big thank you to the organisers!” she said. “I think they’re still developing it a lot, like they’re trying to make every year different and better. Because they’re trying to make it a big thing! They’ve got a bigger audience, they’ve got a nice setup, and then also the mechanics are different.”

Rounds were initially scheduled to take place at Buddh International Circuit, a former Grand Prix track in Delhi, and the Hyderabad Street Circuit, a current Formula E track. However, these have since been replaced by races exclusively taking place at the Madras International Circuit and at an all-new street circuit in Chennai.

“I’m a little sad there’s no Delhi and Hyderabad happening, which would’ve been really cool to have more tracks,” she continued. “But the street circuit will be really cool, and it’s just nice that they actually separated [the rounds]. Last year, we did five weeks straight. Now, we actually get to go home, so that’s kind of cool.”

Havrda: “I would love to race in Asia more”

Asian Motorsport asked Havrda whether she would be interested in racing in Asia more in the future, given her experience in the Indian Racing League.

“Yeah, for sure! I think everyone says that it comes down to budget. So right now, I’m racing in America because it’s got good marketing and also it’s a little budget friendly,” she said.

“I would love to race in Asia more, I’d love to race in Europe, it all kind of depends on budgets, and also series. So it’s great that IRL is happening in Asia. It’s really cool to be here and to see the world as well,” she continued. “I probably would never have come here if it wasn’t for IRL!”

The second round of the Indian Racing League will take place on the 1st-2nd December 2023. Catch the action on Star Sports in India and YouTube in the rest of the world.

Header photo credit: Nicole Havrda

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