New Delhi: 2 and 3 August witnessed a first-of-its-kind endurance race on the high-speed track of the National Centre for Automotive Testing (NCAT) at the Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VRDE), Ahmednagar.
The Maruti Alto, a leading brand for the small car segment, and JK Tyre, the leading tyre manufacturer in India, came together to become the first Indian car and tubeless radial manufacturers to undergo a 24-hour endurance test.
The objective of this test was to establish the reliability and build quality of a showroom-specification vehicle and its tyres by pushing them to the limits on a high-speed test track continuously for 24 hours. Car and tyre manufacturers the world over use this medium to highlight the prowess, technological build and reliability of the cars and tyres that leave their factories.
The team covered a distance of 3,082 kms in 24 hours at an average speed of 128.438 kmph. Will you believe it if someone said that you could travel from Pune to Delhi and back at speeds above 125 kmph in just 24 hours?
Says JK Tyre general manager (marketing) Neeraj Bhatia: "It was a milestone for an Indian car and tyre manufacturer as they came out with flying colours after one of the most gruelling endurance tests that this country has ever witnessed. The results will go a long way in changing the mindsets of the Indian consumer towards tubeless radials that are far superior in quality and put you in total control. These results once again highlight JK Tyre''s dominance in the radial tyre market and reinforce our position as a world-class manufacturer of tyres in India."
"A tyre change was planned after 12 hours of running, but the JKI team who were monitoring tyres for all of 24 hours decided to go ahead without a tyre change. The air loss was negligible even after 24 hours of continuous running at speeds in excess of 120 kmph. The wear nature was very smooth and ride comfort was also very good; high-speed handling was also appreciated by drivers," adds Bhatia.
Teams of four drivers each drove the two cars and they set a scorching pace right from the beginning. High-ranking officials from the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) were present, who made sure that all the rules for such a test were followed and monitored the endurance test.
Overdrive magazine facilitated the event, which was supported by IOC fuel and Amaron batteries in addition to re-torquing the wheel nuts on the Aura alloy wheel rims and checking the tyre temperature on the JK Rubber. For the endurance race, JK Tyre had provided these cars with their latest tubeless tyres (which JK have been manufacturing since the late eighties).
Five-time National Rally Champion and India''s first FIA Asia Zone Rally Champion, Hari Singh, one of the drivers for the lead car, had this to say about his experience: "The performance from the Alto was as expected. We did set a hard target but the Alto proved nothing was too tough for it. The tyres excelled at their job lasting the harsh conditions that they were subjected to day and night - a great event that makes me want to come back for more."