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Indian racer Akshay Gupta inks deal with Mertens Motorsport for 2024 Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie

Published at :April 5, 2024 at 12:06 PM
Modified at :April 5, 2024 at 12:06 PM
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(Courtesy : Maikel Fuhrmann)

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The 31-year-old will compete for the championship-winning team by driving the Hyundai i30N on one of the world’s most dangerous racetracks.

Akshay Gupta, the dynamic racer and tech founder, has officially inked a deal with Mertens Motorsport for the highly anticipated 2024 Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie (NLS) season which will take place on the Nürburgring circuit in Germany.

The NLS is widely renowned as one of the oldest and most esteemed endurance racing championships globally since its inception in the 1970s. Akshay’s signing represents a significant milestone for Indian motorsport, as he becomes the country’s sole racer set to compete against over 300 drivers and 117 cars.

The Ahmedabad-based racer discovered some injuries while doing a few rounds in the championship with Adrenalin Motorsport in a BMW last year, which required him to undergo surgeries on both his hands. Despite still undergoing recovery from the surgeries, Akshay’s passion for racing has fueled his return to the track as he remains actively engaged in pre-season testing during the ongoing recovery process.

The 31-year-old will pilot the Hyundai i30N (car number 492) for Mertens Motorsport in the upcoming season.

Sharing his thoughts on joining Mertens Motorsport, Akshay Gupta expressed, “Racing at the Nurburgring circuit has always been a dream. It used to be my laptop wallpaper for 15 years before I got to race here last year. The experience gained last year taught us a lot about the track, level of competition, cars, and different conditions. This year, the goal is pretty clear. I want to conquer the most challenging racetrack out there.”

“We are in a championship-winning team, in one of the most tightly fought categories: VT2-F, racing with equally competent teammates with 10,000 km of simulator practice put in. I am confident that this season will bring us some good results and I look forward to hoisting the Indian flag on the podium as many times as I can,” he further added.

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Mertens Motorsport, a German Racing Team founded in 2020, has quickly solidified its reputation as a formidable contender in the NLS with an impressive track record of capturing the NLS VT2-F Championship title in 2023 and also securing the NLS Team Trophy in the same year. Akshay’s addition to the team will contribute to elevating their performance.

“I am very pleased that Akshay Gupta is moving to Mertens Motorsport this season. We did the pre-season testing in March and immediately the chemistry was right, this is very important for a race team given that we compete in endurance racing where the cars are shared with other racers. It’s remarkable the lengths he goes to compete in the championship. We welcome him onboard and thank him for putting the faith in our team,” said Daniel Mertens, Team Owner of Mertens Motorsport.

Having begun his career as a professional racer in 2010, Akshay demonstrated his prowess behind the wheel by finishing as a runner-up at the Buddh International Circuit for Toyota in the season finale of the National Championship in 2013. His remarkable talent also earned him recognition from Nissan, who selected him after a rigorous driver selection program out of 10,000 drivers in India to compete in their Asian GT Academy Finale held in the UK. The competition has become a major feature film released on Netflix called Gran Turismo.

Parallel to his racing endeavours, Akshay’s urge to fulfil his passion for racing led him to entrepreneurship, where he founded a Connected Car technology start-up called Scouto which has notably been acquired by online used-car retailing unicorn Spinny in December 2021. This serves as a testament to his success both on and off the racetrack and following his triumphs in the entrepreneurial landscape, the Indian has returned to his roots in racing.

“Since the day I was 2 years old I have only played with cars, when I turned 4, my dad got me a go-kart and that consumed all of my playtime as a kid. It was only in my early teens that I realized that there’s a career called being a racecar driver and ever since that day I have been pursuing the dream to keep racing cars across the globe. It is the most expensive sport in the world, and for the son of a bank manager, I had to find creative ways to get back into it. After having sold my company, I’m thrilled to return to my first love full-time, racing cars,” stated Akshay Gupta.

Akshay’s journey with Mertens Motorsport will kick off with the season opener at the NLS1: 64. ADAC ACAS Cup on April 6. Qualifying is scheduled to begin at 12 pm IST, followed by the pit walk and grid walk at 1:45 pm IST. The race is set to commence at 3:30 pm IST with the action being streamed live on Nurburgring’s official YouTube channel.

Here’s a detailed championship calendar:

  • April 6, 2024 – NLS Race 1: 64th ADAC ACAS Cup
  • April 7, 2024 – NLS Race 2: 63rd ADAC Reinoldus endurance race
  • April 13 and 14, 2024 – ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers
  • June 22, 2024 – NLS Race 3: 69th ADAC Westfalenfahrt
  • August 3, 2024 – NLS Race 4: 6h ADAC Ruhr Cup race
  • October 19, 2024 – NLS Race 5: 55th Adenauer ADAC Circuit Trophy
  • November 16, 2024 – NLS Race 6: 56th ADAC Barbarossa Prize

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