J Anand has been racing at the sharp end and making cars go faster for decades
BACK IN THE DAY, AS SOON as the lights turned green J Anand – a man known to be one of the best racecar drivers India has ever produced – took the Indian motorsport scene by storm. Born into the Lakshmi Mills family and following in the footsteps of names like Karivardhan and Naren Kumar, Anand started racing at a very young age. It is often said that the fastest driver is usually the person who understands his car the best, and Anand had automotive engineering structured into his DNA.
His passion for automobiles has no limit. He began building engines and by the time he was in college, he had built and developed a twin-cam 16-valve high performance petrol engine; this was just the beginning. Anand, a keen racer, was known to push the car to its limit every time he went out on the track. It was this very spirit that won him numerous accolades in the Formula Maruti series at Sholavaram. Apart from racing the Maruti 800, he also raced a Fiat in the Group 2 category (similar to today’s ITC category) and even won numerous championships in super saloon racing. His passion, aggression and dominance in these categories caught the eyes of Team MRF. He tried his hand at rallying participating in the K1000 in the 80s with Team MRF’s in-house designed Mayura sedan, powered by a 16-valve DOHC engine, built and conceptualised by J Anand, but rallying was not his calling. The highlight of his career was his stint in the Formula 3 championship with Team MRF. Racing against drivers from around the world, Anand managed to cement his name in the Indian motorsport arena winning all the races at Irungattukottai and Sholavaram.
After bagging a number of titles to his name J Anand devoted himself to the family engineering business that had already shot into the limelight with credits that included the four-cylinder diesel engine for the Ambassador in the seventies, a sixcylinder engine for the Standard 2000 in the eighties and the first indigenous four-door sedan, the Mayura 1500, that was shown at the 1986 Auto Expo. Quitting racing while at his peak (many contend he had the chops to make it to F1) he continued to work with MRF as a technical advisor that led to the founding of J A Motorsport. Anand continued to fuel his passion of building racecars, he designed and developed a prototype formula car – Formula Mayura, based on a 1600cc Formula Lotus Vauxhall. In 2003 he built a second prototype running a Tata engine – Formula India Mayura. Anand joined forces with Van Diemen of UK to develop a new Formula 1600 car powered by Ford engines and then developed the carbon-chassis F2000 single-seater, the fastest race car to be built in the country, that is the bedrock of the MRF International Challenge. On the rallying front J A Motorsport has built championship winning rally cars for MRF starting with the Gypsy and progressing to the Honda City VTEC, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Ford Fiesta and Mitsubishi Cedia.
Over the years, Jayem Automotive have grown into an internationallyacclaimed R&D consultancy, a job that has secrecy hard coded into every assignment, but the most visible signs of the partnership are the scores of Tata Motors vehicles pounding out the test miles near Coimbatore, being tested and validated by Jayem engineers. They’ve also built some crazy concept cars which includes the V6-engined Indica Silhouette which made 256bhp (and faster than a Porsche 911). When it comes to Indian engineering and racing, J Anand is a name you can never ever forget, a true legend.