The Speed Demon – Arjun Narendran, Coimbatore
He didn’t play with toys or building blocks as a child. A replica of French racing driver Jean Alesi’s car was his favourite toy. From playing with battery operated cars, he graduated to Go-Karts and naturally progressed into racing. Twenty one-year-old Arjun Narendran from Coimbatore is one of the country’s most promising talents on the racing circuit. RITZ talks to the speedster about his love for cars and what makes him satisfy his adrenaline rush.
Arjun Narendran earned his first ever title on the national racing circuit when he sealed the Indian Touring Car Championship with two wins at the 2014 MMSC-FMSCI National Racing Championship (NRC) at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida. Trained by six-time INRC motor rally champion N. Leelakrishnan, the youngster from Coimbatore has his roots firmly set in the racing capital of the country, with countless connections and mentors in the sport.
Every single race is crazy, exciting and dramatic. There was one race where only two out of ten participants finished, everyone else crashed, including me. But there was another race where I had to start last because I didn’t qualify; yet I finished first. That was a great feeling.
Humility is his hallmark while he talks about his achievements and recognitions, “I won the Indian National Touring Car Championship twice in a row and I happen to be the only one to win it twice. Another time I was the placed third in the overall championship in the 1600cc category. I have 19 wins so far. I have lap records in all the circuits. I owe all my victories to my mentors and was super happy to receive the FMSCI 2014 Indian National Touring Car Champion Award and the Auto Track 2014 Award in the same category. A popular racing magazine also awarded me with the title of Car Racer of the Year,” he tells us with pride.
Arjun is eager to share details pertaining to his role in motor sports. “The world of motor sports has several categories and classifications. I race in the Indian National Touring Car category. It’s a petrol car with a ceiling of 1799 cc. Basically you choose any normal car, strip it down – upgrade the brakes, engine, suspension, the gear box while adding a roll bar for safety. You have to bring down the weight as much as possible. There are three tracks in India where we race and they are in Coimbatore (2.1 km), Chennai (3.74 km) and Delhi (5.4 km). I have raced on all the three of them. The Formula Ford Championship is one more area of interest and it is a single seater car race with the cars from Jayam Automotive by Mr. J Anand. We reach a speed of about 220 km per hour and turn the corners at 165 km per hour,” he explains, the thrill in his voice evident to us as we listen on.
With regard to his future plans he says, “I am going to race in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and in Chennai over the next year. In the long run I want to try my hand at winning the British Touring Car Championship. I went to check out the various tracks in England recently. Unlike India they have a track in every major city and I really want to race on those circuits for a while.”
Hailing from one of Coimbatore’s most illustrious families, he is the grandson of SNR Chinnaswamy Naidu of the famous SNR Sons Charities, and his family manages the well-known Sri Ramakrishna Hospital and several large educational institutions in and around the Coimbatore region. His maternal grandfather V. Ramesh was a famous Telugu movie producer.
Currently pursuing his engineering degree at the Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College Arjun says he plans to take his GRE and TOEFL this year and complete post graduation in Hospital Management in the US. When we ask him what the most exciting thing about racing is, he says, “Every single race is crazy, exciting and dramatic. There was one race where only two out of ten participants finished, everyone else crashed, including me. But there was another race where I had to start last because I didn’t qualify; yet I finished first. That was a great feeling.”
In three years, he sees himself taking part in The British Touring Car Championship. We hope he realises his dreams and keeps our adrenaline racing with all the victories to come.