Interview with Indian Car racer Rakesh Ramkumar

Interview with Indian Car racer Rakesh RamkumarRakesh Ramkumar revved up his racing career with the Toyota Open Karting Challenge in Saudi Arabia. His first Indian race was the Volkswagen PoloR cup, 2013. In October this year, Rakesh also did a podium finish in the third round of the Volkswagen Polo Support race held at Buddh International Circuit, New Delhi after a successful show in September this year at Coimbatore Support race.

Q1- Congratulations, Rakesh. How does it feel to be a winner? What is the winning formula in the race?

Rakesh: Being a winner is most cherishable. It makes me hungry for more victories and drives me forward for more races with confidence. The key to success in a race is to be calm and stay focused during the entire race weekend.


Q2- What is the biggest hurdle that you have faced in races till now? What are the positives that you took away from the last race?

Rakesh:I always have a good result in the qualifiers, but I struggle when it comes to race pace. I’m working hard on it with the help of data analysing, which helps drivers improvise their pace by setting up a reference. In my last race I had a few technical issues but I could still finish third. Every sport has its own ups and downs but it doesn’t mean that you have to succumb to them; you should rise up at all means and race pace.


Q3- This is the second time you raced at Buddh International Circuit. How do you rate you experience?

Rakesh: BIC is a world class circuit; it has its own standards. As a driver, it is fun to race at BIC – its flat out corners and long stretches makes for more challenging races and the encouraging crowd that swells over 25k makes you happy.

Q4- Rakesh, what pushes you ahead during the run up to the races?

Rakesh: I believe passion is most essential for achievement. My passion is racing and it is what drives me forward.


Q5- What got you into the world of racing?

Rakesh: I was never inspired by anybody, nor do I come from a racing background. I had it in me right from the time I was training as a professional jockey. That’s when I realised I wanted something more exciting than horse riding.

Q6- Do you feel that recognition of motor sports in India is still at an early stage?

Rakesh: Yes, it is definitely in its early stage. People still think of it as entertainment. On the other hand, it is gradually gaining recognition as a sport with the Indian government recognizing the Federation of Motor Sport Club of India (FMSCI) as its official governing body.

Q7- How important is physical fitness for a racer?

Rakesh: It is important for a race driver to be healthy – mentally and physically in order to endure the grinding that one undergoes during a race. It may look simple, but there are a lot of issues like dehydration at an average cabin temperature of 50 degree Celsius. A professional racer must also have skill sets like quick decision-making, reflex, agility, etc. When it comes to exercise, I mostly focus on cardio.

Q8- What other sport attracts you?

Rakesh: Football and table tennis.

Q9- A word to youngsters who wish to take the wheel.

Rakesh: The ideal time for a person to start racing is at the age of 8-9 by participating in karting championships for a couple of years, until he/she gains confidence for higher races, because karting is like a stepping stone to the next level, in which the individual has to choose from different forms of racing such as single seaters, touring cars, endurance racing, rallying and so on.


Interviewed by:

Nebil Nizar