The 2023 Indian Racing League and F4 Indian Championship has introduced fresh talent to the Asian motorsport scene. Among these rising stars are 2023 GB4 Championship drivers Cooper Webster and Ruhaan Alva, who delivered strong performances during the first round of their respective championships at the Madras International Circuit.

Webster took two victories in his first-ever race weekend in the F4 Indian Championship, whilst Alva won his debut race in the Indian Racing League. Speaking to Asian Motorsport, both drivers shared how their experiences in the GB4 Championship have helped them to excel on-track.

By Nida Anis

Webster: “I think the year in GB4 has really helped me perform”

After finishing in second place in the 2023 GB4 Championship, Webster headed to the Madras International Circuit to take on a new challenge: the first-ever round of the F4 Indian Championship. Despite challenges in qualifying and a sixth-place finish in race one, the Australian driver bounced back to take two victories in the second and third races of the weekend.

“My time in India has been really good,” he said. “I’ve never been to India before, so I’ve loved coming to a new country, and then it’s even better to be able to race a car here as well.”

Webster reflected on his experiences racing in the UK. “I think the year in GB4 has really helped me perform here in F4 in India,” he continued. “Yes, the cars are quite a bit different in terms of weight and a little bit of power and whatnot, the different companies that have built both cars.”

Asian Motorsport asked Webster what the biggest differences were between GB4 and the F4 Indian Championship. “The thing that I notice the most difference is on the way to the track and away from the track, all the different cultures and different things you see around the racetrack,” he said.

“It’s a different environment, it’s definitely a bit of a challenge having that in the back of your mind while you’re trying to go racing, so that’s a big change.”

Webster added, “The weather is a lot different – every day here, it’s been really hot and it kind of feels a bit random with whether it’s going to rain or not. Where in Europe, it’s more consistent, a bit colder, so the way you drive the car is a little bit different.

“But it’s all a good challenge and all of it helps make me a better driver.”

Alva: “It’s really, really nice to see the way India is growing in the motorsport scene”

Transitioning from GB4’s Tatuus F4-T014 formula racing cars to the Indian Racing League’s Wolf GB08 Thunder single-seater prototypes, Alva has found his new machinery to be “a lot, lot more comfy”. “In the GB4 Championship, I just struggled a lot,” he said. “We actually came in without any testing so that was another disadvantage we had compared to the other drivers.

“But these [Indian Racing League] cars are a lot more powerful, quite light as well, but a bit slow through the corners I’d say – not as much front-end. But I’ve adapted pretty well to these and it’s working out.”

Alva won his debut Indian Racing League race after competing in a partial season of GB4 with Fortec Motorsport | Credit: Ruhaan Alva

Alva reflected on his return to racing in his home country. “I’d say the competition was pretty hard in the UK and the weather conditions and tracks and tyres I wasn’t really used to, so it was a big disadvantage, especially without testing.

“Coming back here, it’s just more comfortable with the car, with the tyres, with the weather conditions,” he added. “Because of that, I’m able to perform so well.”

With the Indian Racing League returning for its second season and the F4 Indian Championship making its debut, the Indian motorsport scene is growing rapidly. What are Alva’s thoughts? “It’s really, really nice to see the way India is growing in the motorsport scene,” he said.

“Two years ago, we didn’t have any good single-seater championships that we could drive in India, and now we have IRL, we have F4 as well, and hopefully [Formula] Regional as well next year. It’s really, really nice to see drivers from Asia just moving up the ranks.”

The second rounds of the Indian Racing League and F4 Indian Championship 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: F4 Indian Championship

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