The 7.1 billion USD Mahindra Group will become the first Indian motorcycle manufacturer to enter a team into the prestigious FIM Road Racing World Championship (MotoGP).
GP riders Danny Webb from the UK and Marcel Schrötter from Germany, already well known in MotoGP, will ride for Mahindra Racing in the 125cc category for the 2011 season. Mahindra, today, introduced the two riders to the Indian media on their visit to the Mahindra headquarters in Mumbai.
Speaking about Mahindra’s participation in the MotoGP Championships, Mr. Anand Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra Group, said, "It is a matter of great pride for us to represent India in the world’s most prestigious two-wheeled race series.
Mahindra Motorcycles will compete with the best in class, and it will be an ideal opportunity for us to showcase our strengths in the engineering and IT domains.
MotoGP is the ultimate test for the finest talents in motorcycle racing and an immensely popular championship with a cult following. Our participation will also help us leverage the power of global branding for the Mahindra Group."
Marcel Schrötter, the 18-year-old former German and European 125cc champion, said: "It is exciting to be part of an international collaboration, especially with a company like Mahindra whose ethos is to support upcoming talent. With a year’s experience in the World Championship under my belt, I am now looking forward to making a mark with Mahindra Racing at the MotoGP World Championships."
Danny Webb’s talent was spotted from an early age and he became a MotoGP Academy rider, making his World Championship debut at the age of 15 in 2006. Now a veteran at 19, Danny will enter his fifth full season in the 125cc class.
The British rider said: "I hope that all the experience I have racing in the 125cc class can help this new but ambitious team and I can take a step up this year. It is a privilege to ride for the first Indian team to enter the World Championship. There seems to be a real buzz about India in international sport at the moment and it would be great if we get a good Indian following."
Mahindra’s entry to the MotoGP Championship follows its acquisition of Engines Engineering of Italy, a company that has been constructing race bikes and providing specialised components and technical support for teams in MotoGP since 2003. The Mahindra World Championship motorcycle has been designed and developed by the Italian two wheeler specialist.
In addition to its desire to achieve on-track racing success, Mahindra has created the race programme to achieve a number of related business objectives. Mahindra’s involvement in MotoGP offers it an important global footprint to promote the Mahindra brand and create relationships as the group expands.
It witnessed firsthand the power of international sport for brand building through Mahindra Satyam partnership with FIFA at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Mahindra also believes that working closely with Engines Engineering and facing the engineering challenges of prototype racing will have a positive and motivating impact on its Systech engineering business. Systech develops new automotive technology and there will be a constant two-way dialogue between it and the race programme.
Mahindra has only recently joined the motorcycle and scooter market in India. The Indian two-wheeler market is growing extremely quickly and over 11 million units sold in 2010, a massive 31% rise on 2009 figures.
Its own business in this area tripled in the same period, but it needs to maintain this level of growth. Mahindra will use its MotoGP programme as a central communication platform for its two-wheeler business to help achieve this growth and cement its position in the Indian market.
Mahindra Racing – 125cc MotoGP Riders
Danny is a young rider from Kent in the UK who, at the age of 19, already boasts a wealth of experience. He began his riding career at the age of six, when he participated in the British Junior Motocross championship before switching onto the track with the Mini Moto championship after three years.
In 2003, he became the South East Junior Mini Moto Champion. In 2004, Danny took his first steps in circuit racing when he participated in the MRO Aprilia Superteens championship, where his young talent was soon noticed. In 2005, at the age of 14, he was invited to join the MotoGP Academy and raced in both the British and Spanish 125 Championships.
In 2006, Danny remained in the MotoGP Academy and raced in the Spanish open 125 championship, before moving to the 125 World Championship in 2007 with the DeGraaf Grand Prix team. In 2010, he moved to the Andalucia Cajasol Grand Prix team where he had his most successful season in the top class to date finishing 10th overall.
Marcel hails from Pflugdorf in Germany and was the 2002 Pocket Bike German champion. In 2005 and 2006, he secured second and third place in the ADAC Junior Cup (125 cc), respectively.
He was the 2009 IDM German champion (125 cc) and the UEM European Champion in 2009. In 2010, he participated in the 125 cc category of the MotoGP World Championship where he rode for Team Interwetten Honda.