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Jaguar’s return to racing puts Karthikeyan back in spotlight

New Delhi :Jaguar’s return to motorsport with Formula E has opened a window of opportunity for Narain Karthikeyan to make his maiden appearance in the all-electric series and be associated with the Tata-owned British luxury car maker again.

India’s first Formula 1 driver is excited about Jaguar’s return to racing next year and it is no surprise considering that he tested a F1 car for the first time with Jaguar Racing, way back in June 2001 before he managed to get a race seat with Jordan in 2005.

“It (Jaguar’s return) is obviously great news for motorsport. It is exciting for me as well as a Jaguar fan. To be honest, the announcement today takes me back in time. It was only with Jaguar that I had my first brush with a Formula 1 car,” Karthikeyan, who has been a Tata backed driver since 1999, told PTI.

Acknowledging that he can’t go on forever in single seater racing after being on the road for two decades, the 38-year-old still remains committed to at least another season in the Japan-based Super Formula series. But if time permits, he is very much open to driving for Jaguar in Formula E.

“The focus is very much on doing well in what would be my third season in Super Formula. The series has the fastest car outside F1 and I want to make a mark there. Having said that, if an opportunity comes to drive for Jaguar in Formula E, I will be happy to take it. The calendar for next season (Super Formula) is not confirmed yet so we will see how it goes,” he said.

The Formula E car may not be in the league of Super Formula but the environment friendly electric series has managed to attract global attention since its inaugural season in 2014-2015.

A date clash between the two series is unlikely in the majority of the rounds. Super Formula runs from April to November while the ongoing Formula E season started in October and will end in July.

It remains to be seen how competitive Jaguar’s Formula E program will be. Jaguar had a rather forgettable four seasons in F1 from 2000 to 2004 with its best driver finish being ninth.

However it enjoyed substantial success in 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the iconic race seven times besides being crowned champion in 1984 European Touring Car Championship and 1991 World Sportscar Championship.