We'd already reported the news that Akhil Rabindra was going to make the switch to GT car racing in 2017, driving a McLaren 570S GT4 in the British GT Championship. The Indian racer, who has also been signed on by the McLaren GT Academy believes that 2017 will be a year of learning for him, and a season in which he will attempt to adapt as much as possible to driving GT cars.
Akhil Rabindra will drive a McLaren 570S GT4 in the 2017 British GT Championship
"This is my learning year in GT cars and I would like to grow as much as I can," Rabindra said. He went on to speak of the various new elements that he needed to adjust to, given that he's making the switch from driving single seaters for the last couple of years, having competed in the BRDC F4 and BRDC F3 championships. The fact that the races would be longer, and feature pitstops, the fact that this year he has a team-mate, and the fact that he needs to get used to driving a car with virtually no aero on it, are all elements that he needs to adjust to. "Quickly adapting to driving a heavier car with less aero and longer driving stints will be my focus," he said.
Of course Rabindra is rather upbeat about the fact that he's been signed by the McLaren GT Academy, which has helped him land a seat with the Black Bull Garage 59 team. This is after he was a part of the FIA Institute's Young Drivers Excellence Academy back in 2014. "The signing was based on my past performances in the BRDC F4 and F3 championships," Rabindra said. He also acknowledged the fact that his knowledge of the British racetracks, on which he competed the last two seasons, would help the team.
But for Rabindra, who had pursued the single-seater route thus far in his career, one season of racing in the Toyota EMR Cup being the exception, the switch to GT racing was a conscious choice. "I thought of pursuing the Formula car route, but it was tough. The scope for opportunity is harder, the budgets are bigger. The number of GT championships available means there are more opportunities around the world," he said.
However, he is prepared for the tough season ahead of him, while also acknowledging the fact that the last season that he spent racing F3 cars could have been better. "The car was new to me and the team, which was a bit of a struggle. I had some unfortunate DNFs that cost me points." Rabindra, however, is hopeful that the GT route might someday provide him with better opportunities, and even help him become a paid GT driver in the future.
For now though, his focus is on the 2017 season of racing. The first two rounds of the British GT Championship will be held between April 15 and 17. Stay tuned for updates after the races at Oulton Park.