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Island teen burning rubber as youngest driver in Indian race car circuit

Nicole Havrda, 16, racing Formula 3 on the streets of India

Nicole Havrda, a 16-year-old race car driver from Courtenay, is competing in the 2022 Indian Racing League in India.

The league consists of six city-based, franchise teams that compete in a series of races. Organizers say the unique format provides men and women an equal opportunity to compete against each other on a level playing field. The aim is to make India a global motorsport destination.

Nicole and three men, one from Great Britain and two from India, comprise the Chennai Turbo Riders team that competed in its second weekend of racing, Friday to Sunday, at the Madras International Circuit (MIC) in Chennai.

The first race — the Hyderabad Street Circuit — was cancelled. The second event, Nov. 25-27 in Chennai, “was a great success,” Nicole’s father Martin said. Out of an experienced field with pro drivers from across the world, Nicole’s team finished P6 on Saturday and P5 on Sunday.

“We are very pleased with the results, and Nicole will continue to learn and develop as a driver, in order to be even more prepared for the upcoming season in Formula 3, in North America,” Martin said, noting his daughter feels like a teenager playing hockey with NHL players. Formula 3 is an open-wheel category for juniors en route to becoming Formula 1 drivers.

“For Nicole just to be invited to represent Canada in India is a massive, unimaginable success in her skyrocketing career at such a young age,” he said.

Nicole is the youngest driver on the circuit. Some are at least 10 years older, many of them international stars, factory drivers, professional race car drivers, or international coaches. The final round of the league is Dec.10/11 in Hyderabad.

Nicole attends school online as she pursues her sport of choice, which involves a fair bit of travel. In October, she won back-to-back races at the JMF Motorsports / Valley Kitchens Ligier JS F3 in California. On the first day, she qualified third, and followed with a strong start and solid drive to finish first. On the second day, she started in the pole position, and led from flag-to-flag for her second win of the weekend.

About a month ago, Nicole was one of nine girls testing with the Aston Martin F1 Team in Arizona. She was selected out of 100-plus drivers from around the world — again the youngest one in the field.

Learn more about Nicole at and @nicolehavrdaracing

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