A man, more than all other things, derives a hand of hope from a positive impulse and forward looking thoughts.When he started his journey as a horse rider, little did he know where the tide was leading him. He sought his first seating as a car racer in the Toyota Open Karting Championship in Saudi Arabia. Every day life has new episodes to unveil. With a sudden turn of events, he found himself racing ahead of his rivals at the finales.
At present, Rakesh Ramkumar is pursuing BTech from Hindustan University. Finishing 10th out of the 22 drivers in the Volkswagen Polo R Cup in 2013 further accelerated his journey. Recently, he finished 2nd in the 2015 Volkswagen Support Race Round 1 Read this exclusive conversation with the raging car racer.
“What’s the point of having a million cups and medals if you don’t have any fun? How is that winning?”
Highlights of this episode
- His inspiration to become a car racer.
- Racing in the Toyota Open Karting Championship.
- The round 4 Jk Tyre Volkswagen Polo R Cup ( 2013).
- Lewis Hamilton (F1 driver).
quotes and takeaways
- Sitting in a race car cabin with temp 50 C plus and trying to finish the best possible position by just a tenth or two between oneself and rivals.
- The sole method to rejuvenate oneself is to “Niche thyself”.
Tell us a bit about your childhood. Was car racing always on the future cards?
I was born in a small town called Rajapalayam (Tamil Nadu). Later, I moved to Saudi Arabia where I did a part of schooling. After grade 3, I moved back to Ooty and studied there till grade 7. During these four years I was training as jockey (Horse riding), then again for my grade 8-10 I had to move back to Saudi Arabia. Perhaps after this I encountered the most important realization of my life. Then came the realization that I wanted to be somewhere I can feel more adrenaline rush and noticed that the power of a car is usually expressed in HP (Horse Power) so then I decided instead of riding a single horse power I wanted to have a lot of horse power build in one box that’s when I wanted to get into racing.
On returning to India, I began my training under Meco Motorsports operated by Akbar Ibrahim who is an ex F3 Champion. I started taking over the category of touring car and racing in the Volkswagen Polo R Cup (2013). The selection process for Volkswagen Popo R Cup was at Coimbatore. From the first round 14 drivers were selected.
The season began in June 2013 and ended in December 2013. After qualifying in the first two rounds in Coimbatore, we moved to race in the NCR Budh International Circuit, Greater Noida. The championship was out of 22 drivers. That year I finished 10th out of the 22 drivers in the Volkswagen Polo R Cup 2013.
At present, I am a part of the Volkswagen Polo R Cup 2015 where I will be sponsored by the Hindustan University.
What was first inspiration to become a car racer?
I come from a family background where no one has got an exact idea of what racing is all about. I was not inspire by somebody’s actions. Like every kid I developed a passion for speed as well but I was on a thirst to make this as my profession. This did not happen in a single day it took years to make it and all I would say is this happened due my hard work and dedication.
I participated in the Toyota Open Karting Championship in Saudi Arabia in my high school years. That day had a silver lining to it for myself. I was the 12th man in the finales and only the top 10 drivers were racing. Unfortunately for a few, but fortunately for me the 9th and the 10th driver could not make it to the race! I was present in the day of the event as a spectator when I was called to race for the finales.
That was the moment. And after that there were only forward looking thoughts.
Finish this sentence: The movie Rush is …
Rush is a clear picture which showcases the ups and down of a race driver that he or she undergoes.
What has been the most thrilling moment which you experienced as a car racer?
On a tough battle in round 4 Jk Tyre Volkswagen Polo R Cup ( 2013). The race was help at the Budh International Circuit and we were racing closely for a particular race position. More than 25,000 spectators were cheering aloud for us. This gave me an amazing feeling of optimism . I could feel the vibes building inside as I proceeded in the track. At the end of the event, many photographers and spectators came to take pictures and interact with us. It was an amazing moment of satisfaction in my journey.
After taking a year long gap in 2014 on attaining sponsorships and other obstacles I could finally race in 2015 VolKswagen Polo Support Race in which I bagged the second position. At the end of the race I finally felt that my dreams had come true to be back on the tack! Even while receiving the trophy I felt immensely happy to be rewarded for my perseverance and patience.
Give me an example of a high-pressure situation.
When I sit on a race car cabin with temp 50 C plus and trying myself to finish the best possible position I can by just a tenth or two between me and my rivals. To every car racer who has to keep his mind completely on track for every lapse, I say, “Niche thyself”.
Which is the best car you have raced so far? Why do you think so?
I really cannot pin point as of now because I started on Volkswagen Polo and yet I am racing the same.
Which car racer do you watch out for?
Lewis Hamilton (F1 driver). There are dual reasons for this. Primarily, for his speed with which he drives when on track and leaves his rivals behind. On the hind side, if you look at his background you will know he had strong financial limitations at the beginning of his career. It is essential for every car racer to get sponsorship for racing. Convincing someone that we are good enough is another battle we fight. But Lewis was a hustler. The journey of Lewis is one of the best every made.
What’s your personal code of conduct on the track?
Keep calm! There will be moments when you stand at the age of thrill and danger when on track. Remember you practice sessions. Recall the flaws you saw on the graph before the race began. Never let the your last nerve overwhelm your senses. And the keynote of success is simple: consistency.
Thoughts for people who aspire to become car racers.
First and foremost it is a very costly sport, so people with an idea of getting into this sport has to make sure that he or she has to have a good financial background to support at all means or else be ready to sweat like hell to find a sponsor for all your expenses, which is very tough and I am being honest it is not very easy to get a sponsor. Lots of hard work has to be put in. But never give up!