The fourth season of the FIA-sanctioned India-based MRF Challenge championship kicks off at the Yas Marina circuit this weekend, with several big names confirmed for the opener.
Headlining the entry list for the Abu Dhabi round is GP2 race winner Nobuharu Matsushita, likely racing in preparation for the GP2 season finale that will be run at the very same track.
European Formula 3 drivers Jake Dennis and Pietro Fittipaldi, and F4 driver Harrison Newey, son of Red Bull design guru Adrian, will also feature at Yas Marina.
The season opener will also be contested by three female drivers - Tatiana Calderon from European F3, former GP3 driver Alice Powell and Laura Tillett.
The series will subsequently head to Bahrain in support of the World Endurance Championship in November and then to Dubai in December, with the season finale set for Chennai in January.
"We are excited to launch the fourth season of the MRF Challenge," said Arun Mammen of MRF Tyres.
"The MRF Challenge has been a great opportunity for young drivers to establish themselves and give drivers the best chance to race on some of the world’s leading Formula One circuits."
Former F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan, who has been associated with MRF for many years, heaped praise on the championship.
"I have been working closely with MRF for many years and it is great to see their passion for the sport only increase season by season. The MRF Challenge is a unique series and probably one of the most competitive in Asia," he said.
"I have been testing the cars since the beginning of the year and we have worked hard to make the cars much lighter this year.
MRF along with JA Motorsport had completed a four-day shakedown of the F2000 cars in September at the Kari Motor Speedway.