In an exclusive interview, Akhilesh Reddy, MEIL Director and President, RPPL, spoke at length about the inaugural edition of this championship and more. Excerpts:
What is your wider aim and purpose behind organizing the Formula 3 and Formula 4 racing league? What is your vision for RPPL?
The vision of the racing promotions and its initiatives in F3 and F4 is to bring an all-Indian team to F1 within the next 5-7 years and an all-Indian women’s team to F2 within the next 10-12 years.
From a purely commercial point of view, F3 and F4 add a lot of technical legitimacy to our offerings, including the Indian racing league, given the FIA points that come with them. They will attract the international racing fraternity to India, and subsequently, the suppliers of the global motor racing industry.
By staging not one but two FIA-sanctioned championships, the profile of Indian racing will be raised in the global rankings, attracting an audience that will translate into commercial success in the next 4-5 years.
Moreover, this will be the first time that an FIA-sanctioned championship will be held in India.
What do you think will be the big drivers for the success of this league?
I would say that the strength of our distribution (broadcast, social media), profile of team owners and quality of sponsors (more non-endemic than endemic) will be the drivers of success, in addition to the fundamental factors – high quality racing, broadcast world class and fan engagement.
Please tell us about the league owners.
The league is fully owned and operated by Racing Promotions, which is majority owned by me (Akhilesh Reddy) and Ameet Ghadoke, through our parent companies. The acquisition of Racing Promotions was completed in September 2021.
Have you finalized a broadcaster for the league?
At this stage, we are in discussions with all key broadcasters in India, both TV and OTT, including Star, Sony, Discovery, Voot, Jio, etc.
What is your marketing strategy for RPPL?
We have a 360-degree marketing plan, which includes radio, television, billboards as well as extensive field engagement through simulation racing and go-karts.
We will be holding simulation racing (virtual racing) and go-karting for two weeks in each of the franchise cities for six months before the league seasons, which will be the longest activation of any sports league in India.
What kind of investments have you made in this league so far?
We have already invested over 150 cr in equipment, cars, local government licenses and FIA clearances/sanctions, street circuit infrastructure and a race track.
Sports leagues have proven to provide great value to marketers, what kind of opportunities does your league provide for brands? Why should brands join in?
The following factors are the main USPs of the Indian racing festival – equal opportunity (male and female drivers), deep fan and grassroots activation (sim racing and karting in each franchise city), multiple venues (travel across the country ), street circuit (a concept never seen before in India, both from a sporting and technical point of view), an international fraternity of racing drivers (F3 and F4 will attract the world’s best talents), celebrities (owners of famous teams) and several championships (its three championships in one weekend, offering more races and more action on a daily basis).
All of the above factors give a wide range of brands good reasons to partner with running promotions. Women-centric brands can build on equal opportunity, while Made in India brands can support the first-of-its-kind street circuit.
Endemic brands such as manufacturers of tires, fuel, lubricants, etc. will come for the quality of the races and the drivers, while the FMCG and D2C brands will come for the long activation leading to the league.
We’ve created a package for everyone, and we firmly believe that there is a solid business foundation for all stakeholders to derive a return on investment.