Narain Karthikeyan leaves the Japanese Super GT championship after an impressive debut season

TOKYO: India's first Formula 1 driver Narain Karthikeyan on Monday he announced his departure from the Japanese Super GT Championship despite an impressive debut season in sports cars careers .

The 42-year-old had switched to sports car careers last year after spending two decades in single seaters. He had ended the season on a high by winning the Super Gt x DTM Dream Race at the Fuji Speedway in November. He had also finished second in the penultimate round of the Championship.

Speaking to PTI, Karthikeyan said he wants to explore new challenges and that among them could appear in the iconic 24 hours of Le Mans in France.

The Indian was part of the Le Mans weekend in 2009, but could not participate in the race due to a dislocated shoulder. Therefore, it can be said that Karthikeyan has pending issues in Le Mans.

Frequent travels to Japan for careers and testing eventually caught up with Karthikeyan. He was the lead test driver for Dunlop tyres in Japan, developing their Super GT tyres, in a series which is one of the last in the world to still have an all-out 'tyres-war' amongst four different tyres manufacturers.

Karthikeyan is stepping back from Super GT and its rigorous development and careers calendar to focus on his automotive related business ventures.

2019 has been an incredible year for me, but also very busy. I have traveled to Japan so many times that I have actually lost count. My year ended in the most incredible way by winning the DTM x Super GT Dream Race, Karthikeyan said.

I would like to thank Satoru-san and the entire Nakajima Racing family for having been such a fantastic year. I have run with them for some years in Japan, and I really feel that I have a second family in Japan, he said.

President Satoru Nakajima added: Narain adapted very well to the new demands of the Honda NSX-GT Super GT500 car in 2019. It was a difficult start to the year, but in the second half of the season, his hard work and hard work ethics demonstrated, since the improvements in their performance were very good.

"His win at the DTM x JSGT Dream race was a very difficult one, but he drove superbly, winning against some of the best sports-car drivers in the world. Although we would have liked him to continue careers for Nakajima Racing in 2020 and beyond, Narain has decided to explore other opportunities. We wish him all the best," Nakajima said.