Yes, you read that right. If our in-house motorsports whiz is correct, the lil’ one from the Tata stable is going to go racing. It’s one of the last cars on Earth that you’d think about taking to the track but that said, there is an idea there. Here’s how I think it should be. First off, it shouldn’t be a regular race series. I’m mean, it’s a cute lil’ car that yelps the moment you take the roundabout on your way back home at 40 kph so it’ll need some amount of preparation to make it go around corners without tumbling over.Here’s the basic recipe for a Nano Type-R. Put a nice revvy lil’ 60-70 hp engine in there, install better brakes, increase the track, slap on some better rubber, stiffen up the suspension, shed whatever miniscule amount of weight you can and – here’s the genius bit – put trainer wheels on it! Yes, like a toddler’s bicycle, so people can go all out and even if they overcook it and the Nano decides to become a two-wheeler, no one will land up in the hospital for doing something as un-heroic as racing a Nano. It might not be the brightest idea around but it will work, simply and cheaply. Secondly, it should be a fun series held on smaller tighter tracks with some rounds being on gymkhana or autocross tracks setup near the cities that’ll make for fun Sunday evenings.
In spirit, it should be on the lines of the fun racing series The 24 hours of Lemons, where it’s more about having fun than seriously going racing. Paint your own car, give it a GT40 paintjob or put a giant panda on the roof, go crazy with whatever little budget you’re allowed! The crazier the better. Heck, it would awesome if someone made a Darth Vader Nano or one shaped like a rocket right out of Tintin’s Destination Moon! Make racing fun, affordable and accessible to all – there’s practically no other car that I can think of that could be a better candidate for a slightly mad, fun racing series. It would make for great TV as well, wouldn’t it? Sure, if we Indians are suckers for celebs, invite a few of the better, more sensible ones. And if you are planning on inviting MTV types, please do let me know what car they’ll be driving because…er, I need to work on the brakes on that particular car.
There is a genuinely interesting concept here, something that can be fun without being prohibitively expensive, its more mass-market and it can be the best marketing for the Nano ever – no Facebook ads, no repeating 0% EMI billboards, no nothing. The real question here is – is South Asia’s biggest automobile maker ready to think outside the box and boldly go where no manufacturer has gone before?
You should check out http://www.24hoursoflemons.com to gauge the kind of mental fun these guys have on the weekend on a $500 budget.
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