The Speed Demon

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Meet Aditya Patel, the 24-year-old racing champion who is the first Indian to win an international race at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida and is now swiftly increasing his list of achievements

When did you discover your passion for racing?
It was always a sport that I enjoyed watching as a kid but it wasn’t till I started karting at local events that I realised how much I enjoyed racing as well. I was probably 12 years old when that happened.

How was the journey that took you from participating in a local karting event to a race for Narain Karthikeyan’s team?
As far as my career is concerned, it was the changing point for me when I raced for NK [Narain Karthikeyan] Racing. Being a follower of Narain’s career as a kid, it was definitely special to be associated with his team for two years. The journey involved many years of karting and then two years of single-seater racing before finally racing for Narain at the age of 17.

How does it feel to be the first Indian to finish on the podium at the Buddh International Circuit?
To be the first Indian on the podium was quite a nice feeling but to be the first Indian to win a race and hear the sound of the national anthem playing gives me goosebumps every time I think about it.

Have you faced any injuries or accidents in your racing career? Do such incidents have an impact on your future races?
So far, no injuries, but yes, I have had my share of accidents. I believe that if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger!

Who do you consider to be your biggest competition in the Indian racing circuit?
It wouldn’t be fair to say I have a big competitor on the Indian circuit. We’re all in it and heading in our own directions in different forms of motorsport for the country.

Do you think India has sufficient facilities for budding racers?
Well, we do have race circuits and go-kart tracks but India being a large country means that accessibility isn’t easy. It’s not like tennis or cricket where we go to courts and nets to practice every day. But if we really do put in the effort and a little extra money, then yes, we can make it accessible to us. In a few more years, we will definitely see many more race cars and tracks around the country.

What are the next milestones you wish to achieve?
Le Mans [endurance racing that lasts 24 hours], DTM [a German Silhouette racing car series] and GT [Grand tourer] cars

What advice would you give people who wish to make racing their profession?
Love what you do or don’t do it at all.

While you are a speed demon on race tracks, what kind of driver are you on city roads?
Slow, lazy and alert (don’t confuse yourself, it’s an art!).

FAST FINDS
Role model: Ayrton Senna, J.D Madan
The person you’d like to defeat in a race: The tortoise
The fastest speed you’ve driven at: 275 kmph
Your dream is to… be a successful, respected race driver and make a career out of the sport.
Your biggest achievements till date: Winning my first ever race, National Champion 2007. Being on the podium at my debut international race. First international win at the Nurburgring and being the first Indian to win an international race at the BIC (Buddh International Circuit)
The most challenging race track: Nurburgring Nordschliefe
A car you’d like to own: Audi RS5

 

Volume 2 Issue 7

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