Mahindra Racing, Hero Moto Sports and More: Indian Auto Companies Targeting International Markets With Racing

Indian Auto Companies

What is common between Mahindra Racing, Hero Moto Sports, and Jaguar Formula E team? They all are a branch of some top Indian Auto Companies.

India is one of the world giants when it comes to Auto manufacturing. Indian Auto Companies have benefited greatly from the rapid economic growth of economy.

However, the Indian auto companies aren’t limited to the domestic growth potential. In the past decade, they have been exercising the prospects of their international target markets. They have been gradually expanding their presence in international markets across MENA and South America.

In addition, they are now looking to target the top European and North American markets with the age old strategy i.e. Racing

Hero Moto Sports at Dakar and World Rally Championship

The best selling motorcycle brand in the country, Hero MotoCorp founded Hero Motor Sport in 2016 to enter international motorsport, focusing specifically on the “Rally Raid” category. The team now comprises of four riders- Ross Branch, Sebastian Buhler, Joan Barreda Bort and Joaquim Rodrigues,

In the past seven years, Hero Motor Sport has made its presence very well-known among the 2-wheeler rally community. The team participates in the Dakar Rally, which is part of the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC), as well as other World Rally Championship (WRC) events such as Rally Argentina, Rallye du Maroc etc.

In the 2024 Dakar Rally, Hero Motor Sport is leaving no stones unturned. They now have some world class talent on the saddle and are also one of the official sponsor.

As of 11 Jan 2023,

Hero’s ROSS BRANCH is one of the contenders for the race win. And the veteran JOAN BARREDA BORT is a regular in the Top 10 ranks.

The participation in the coveted rally raid competition liker Dakar has extensively put Hero shoulder to shoulder with other heavyweights in the 2-wheeler segment, making their presence known to the international customers and enthusiasts.

Mahindra in Formula E and NASCAR

A top dog in the Indian SUV market, Mahindra is already a well established name in the Indian rally racing circuit. With multiple national titles under it’s belt, rally racing has shown the potential of the Mahindra machines to the indian customers.

Mahindra Racing; Indian Auto Companies

In the US, Mahindra is trying to carve out some market share through its agricultural machinery manufacturer Mahindra Tractors.

Coming to motorsport, Mahindra became one of the ten founding teams of the prestigious FIA Formula E World Championship in its inaugural 22014-15 season, featuring Karun Chandhok from India and Bruno Senna, nephew of the legend Ayrton Senna, as their drivers. For the 2023-24 season, they have Nyck De Vries (Ex F1 driver) and Edoardo Mortara as the drivers.

For the US market, Mahindra (tractors) is a regular sponsor in the NASCAR, one of the racing series in North America.

Ahead of the 2022 NASCAR season, Mahindra USA announced that they were joining hands with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) to sponsor Chase Briscoe and his No. 14 Ford Mustang tor the majority of the season.

Briscoe clinched pole position at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 and Enjoy Illinois 300, finishing 9th in the final standings, followed by a pole position at the Coke Zero Sugar 400 and 30th position in the final standings.

Being one of the founding Formula E teams, as well as the back to back participation at the NASCAR, on top of their brand recognition in the international tractor market are catalysts for Mahindra’s international brand presence.

Royal Enfield Targeting Dakar in the Future

Although its English heritage, Royal Enfield has become one of the most recognized Indian motorcycle brands. Aside from their brand reputation and presence on the Indian roads, the company has been slowly building up an international market.

Now, With the launch of an updated 450 Himalayan and Indian veteran Dakar rider CS Santosh in the mix could mean only one thing. Royal Enfield’s entry in the world of Rally Raid.

In the past, RE expressed it’s racing ambition at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Teaming up with S&S Cycle and Harris Performance, they built a salt flat-ready motorcycle based on their 650cc platform.

Ridden by Cayla Rivas, the daughter of ‘Bonne’ record holder Chris Rivas, the motorcycle broke the land speed record in the naturally aspirated 600-cc to 750-cc category, reaching a top speed of 252.745 km/h.

TVS, Tata and More

TVS factory racing is arguably one of the oldest Factory Racing teams in India. Similar to Hero, they are a regular in the Dakar Rally (Supporting Harith Noah for the 2024 Dakar) and organize some of the top bike racing tournaments in India.

Jaguar, a Tata Motors company has a long history of racing. Under the Tata leadership they continue to work in the direction and entered Formula E as a factory team.

Just like the premier European and Japanese brands, Racing is becoming a staple part of the strategy for Indian Auto companies to future proof their business.

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