Indian manufacturer Mahindra has made an impressive start to its World Championship racing operation, putting riders Miguel Oliviera and Efren Vazquez into the top 10 of the final Moto3 standings in just its third season as a factory team.
But Mahindra officials think the marque can make a big jump toward class dominator KTM in 2014 due to a strong power play.
Mahindra entered 2013 with a 250cc engine that produces about 51.5 horsepower, believed to be about 3.5 to 4.5 ponies behind KTM's engine. But Mahindra officials insist their 2014 engine makes more than 55 horsepower.
Two big questions remain. KTM isn't sitting still, so it's possible the Austrian engineers could coax more power from its engines, even with rev limits. And Mahindra may have more power, but the engine's durability is untested. Stretching engine life will be an even tougher task in 2014, as the maximum number of engines allowed before penalties has been sliced from eight to six.
Still, Mahindra's improvement sets up what could become the most interesting arms race in all three classes of the World Championship in 2014. KTM could face strong challenges from Mahindra and from a renewed commitment to the introductory class by Honda.