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Thread: #inConverstion with B. Selvaraj, Team Manager, TVS Racing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Default #inConverstion with B. Selvaraj, Team Manager, TVS Racing

    xBhp: What drove TVS towards the creation of TVS Racing?

    B. Selvaraj: TVS Racing is not just a racing team for us, we build our motorcycles based on our learnings from the track. The saying ‘the bikes we race, are the bikes we sell’ is not just a tagline but a belief that we practice in the company. All our products are developed taking inputs from our racers, half of our R&D is done at the tracks itself.

    Our TVS Apache RTR series of motorcycles is technically born on the racetrack. The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is a pristine example. It is born of the 6-time National Championship winning machine, the TVS Apache GP 165R. Racing is something that has been in the DNA of the company but more than that, it helps us bring quality products to the fore.

    xBhp: We all know what all TVS has achieved in the last 35+ years of racing, but what according to you has been the greatest achievement of TVS Racing?

    B. Selvaraj: TVS Racing was the first manufacturer to introduce the concept of One Make Championship way back in 1994. We have been racing, evolving and expanding since then. That resulted in our first Supercross Championship victory, on international soil, in 2011. And then, we made our debut in the prestigious Dakar Rally in 2015.

    Nationally as well, we have not only been racing and winning, we are doing our part in promoting the sport and bringing more people to the race track. In a bid to do that, we introduced a Women’s exclusive One Make Championship in 2016.

    xBhp: It takes a lot of investment in terms of resources to keep it going for so many years! So what is the biggest motivating factor for TVS Racing to continue supporting the sport?

    B. Selvaraj: We quantify that in terms of learning, technology and engineering capabilities. Racing shows the world the prowess of our factory R&D team. It also pertains to pushing the boundaries of performance for continuous progress and growth.

    We are strongly committed to motorcycle racing in the country and have been responsible for the growing interest in the sport. Since our inception, we have supported around 100 racers in National Open Class and around 500 riders in TVS One Make Championship events.

    So, we will continue to push the boundaries when it comes to motorcycle racing. And we will also create awareness for the sport in our country so that more people become a part of the sport and the ultimate goal will be to put India on the global stage.

    xBhp: Apart from the One Make Championships, is TVS Racing doing something more to bring in more youngsters and more female riders to the sport?

    B. Selvaraj: We are providing a platform for the young aspiring riders to showcase their skill and take up motorcycle racing as a career.
    We have a lot of young riders in our team. Racing is a game of continuous growth of both, the skill of the rider and the advancement of the machinery. In order to improve their skill and capability, we try to get our riders maximum international exposure. To do that, we take them to a lot of international training sessions and races. Like last year, we extensively trained Aravind, Abdul Wahid and Aishwarya in Europe in rally riding, navigation, physical and mental fitness. So, we will continue our contribution to motorcycle racing in India and we are sure that we will make many future champions.

    xBhp: Can you please expand on the Women’s Exclusive One Make Series?

    B. Selvaraj: We started the exclusive all-women One Make Championship in 2016. For this series, we conduct the selection process in different cities so that the process is transparent. So this year we conducted the training session in two places - Mumbai and Bangalore. The growth of motorsport in India is evident from the overwhelming response that we got in the selection process. We picked 15 out of 40 participants in Mumbai and 15 from Bangalore. And then we chose 15 from these in the final selection round that happened at Madras Motor Race Track.

    xBhp: We have also heard about the Young Media Racer Program by TVS Racing. Can you please tell us more about it?

    B. Selvaraj: We started the Young Media Racer Program in 2017 and this is the 3rd year of it. The focus of this program is to provide an extensive training platform for the media riders, who are below the age of 30, and to get them well-versed with the nitty-gritty of racing. It gives them a platform to hone their track riding skills and get an expert opinion from our very own champion racers like Harry Sylvester, Jagan Kumar and K Y Ahamad. So we provide all the resources to them including the motorcycles and on-ground support.

    xBhp: Can you please tell us about the Race-Spec motorcycles used for your various One Make championships TVS organizes?

    B. Selvaraj: The first motorcycle is the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0. It is used in three categories of our One-Make series; Novice, Women, and Young Media Racer Program. Top performers from all these 3 categories get to race in the RR Cup, aboard the Race-Spec TVS Apache RR310, which is the most powerful motorcycle of all the One Make motorcycles raced in India.

    Now we make sure that the performance of this Race-Spec motorcycles is top-notch. And the Apache RTR 200 4V Race-Spec makes around 24 Ps of power and can achieve a top speed of around 145 km/h. With the Race-Spec RR310, we have pushed the envelope a bit further. The version we used in the first RR Cup made around 38 Ps. And now, it makes around 42 Ps. A lot of changes were needed to achieve this power. It has a free-flow exhaust, a completely different programmable ECU, the suspension setup is completely different and then there’s the weight reduction. The latest Race-Spec RR 310 weighs around 130 Kg!

    xBhp: TVS has been exporting its products to a lot of other countries. Do you plan to tap into the talent pool in those countries in regards to motorsports?

    B. Selvaraj: We are a part of the racing events in a few South American countries. As a factory team, we support them with race performance kits so that they are able to perform well. And those riders have been winning too. So we will continue to support the talent through the sources available there.

    xBhp: How do you think one should proceed if he/she plans to make a career in motorsports in India?

    B. Selvaraj: The beginning should always accompany learning so the riders should start after receiving training from a racing school, which is affiliated with the FMSCI. This also makes the rider eligible, ready with an FMSCI racing license, for One Make and Open class championships. The idea is to open the doors to racing enthusiasts with commitment and passion.

    TVS Racing also offers training sessions on the race tracks. And we provide the certification needed to participate in One Make Championships and Open class Championship events. The selection process, for both young riders and female riders alike, is very affordable. The amount that they have to spend is around INR 1000/-.

    The racers who perform well in these One Make Championship events are then selected where we provide them with the opportunity to ride with our champion riders and then, the opportunity to race in the Open Class of the National Championship.

    xBhp: What does one need to attend the TVS Racing training sessions?

    B. Selvaraj: We support them with everything. All they need to do is to pay the aforementioned amount, INR 1000 for the selection process and for actual races, they have to pay INR 3500 to the organizers. The amount mentioned does not include travel and logistics. That is applicable to the participant. Apart from that, we provide them with the riding gear, track bikes, and expert tips from our National Championship winning riders.

    So for us, there are no monetary gains from the aspiring racers. Our intention is to make them take up motorcycle racing as a career and to make them future champions. The underlying principle behind all that is to make motorcycle racing affordable and user-friendly.

    xBhp: And what about the age limit for the riders looking to be a part of TVS Racing training session?

    B. Selvaraj: For the Novice category, the age limit is 23. But we welcome riders as young as 13 (the minimum age for an FMSCI license) so that we can train them and keep them for the next championship year. It is always better to start as early as possible. The best age, in India, would be from 13-14 years, so that they become a National Champion by the age of 17 0r 18, compete internationally and perform well by the age of 23-24.

    xBhp: You mentioned that that one should start as early as they can but compared to some other countries, even 13 is a bit late. So does TVS Racing plan to introduce the concept of mini motos so that the Indian racers can start even earlier?

    B. Selvaraj: We plan to have a dedicated event for kids but it is still in the discussion and planning phase. We will let you know once it takes a concrete shape.

    xBhp: What do you think are the biggest deterrents in the growth of motorsports in India?

    B. Selvaraj: For motorsport to grow stronger in our country, the stakeholders, including the government, need to work together and build a strong infrastructure for aspiring racers. Basically, we need to make the sport more affordable. And on that note, we are seeing a lot of changes and the scenario is much different from before. So I think we are in the right direction and I am sure we are going to see a lot more riders from India in the future, not only doing well in India but internationally as well.

    xBhp: What are the future plans of TVS Racing?

    B. Selvaraj: TVS Motor Company is the first Indian manufacturer to have participated in the pinnacle of off-road Rally events, the Dakar Rally. We have also put Indian riders in the international Rally events, including Dakar, and they have been performing consistently well. Now for the future, we plan for a Top 8 or maybe Top 5 finish in the Dakar rally in the next 3 years.

    A lot of focus of ours will be in this direction to achieve this goal. In addition to that, we also plan to expand our participation in international events with more and more Indian riders. We also plan to participate in international road racing events as well and we’ll update you when the time is right. In terms of products, TVS Racing, like always, will continue to contribute in terms of engineering and technology development to be used in our regular products.

    xBhp: Where do you see motorsports in the next 5 years as far as India is concerned?

    B. Selvaraj: We believe that we will see increased participation of Indian riders in international events. Also, we believe that we will see increased competitiveness amongst the many manufacturers in both national and international scenarios.
    Last edited by xBhp; 06-12-2019 at 07:49 PM.

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