With a terrain that shifts from hill roads to forest tracks, desert trails to beach routes, India tests the mettle of both man and machine in motor rallies. Several championship rallies are held in India every year. Picturesque vintage car rallies are also held in some of the metros like Kolkata's Annual Statesman Vintage Car Rally. One of the most challenging Motor rallies is the Himalayan Car rally.
Motor racing activities first started in the post independence period as many of the World War II airstrips in different parts of the country were left deserted and enthusiasts took advantage of this to pursue this sport. One such airstrip was at Sholavaram, near Chennai. Soon, racing caught on in other parts of the country too. In time, the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) became the governing body of this sport. Rallying - the mission to test man & machine against Indian terrain also rose to become a popular sport. National Championships were instituted and winners became cult figures.
Rallies were shortened to 750 kilometeres as long as they were part of the National championship and that made competition very tight. Team MRF, Team JK, Team JCT and Team Paarel are the only four teams in India today. Car and bike enthusiasts yearning for more adventure started setting off to cross country expeditions. Presently, motor sport includes activities like autocross, motocross, drag racing, motor gymkhana, treasure hunts and precise family rallies. Thanks to a deal between the West Bengal State Government and Grand Prix India Private Limited, a world class Formula One Racetrack with all the attendant features, facilities and infrastructure has been set up. Indian Narain Kartikeyan has already made a name for himself in the high-speed world of motor racing. But some applause must go to the sponsors who have supported him in his endeavor: J.K Tyres, Ford Motors, UB Group and the rest.
Indian Motor racing is roughly 50 years old and rallying 30 years. Though motor sport started with circuit racing in India , the fact today remains that racing has hardly progressed within the country.