The Speed Machine

Racer Aditya Patel talks to Richa Tilokani about the racing scene in India, his passions and his source of inspiration.

As one of the top racers in the country, Aditya Patel is signed with Team Novadriver in the International GT Open 2014. Team Novadriver is a Portuguese-based team founded by Cesar Campanico in the year 2009 and was voted as the best customer racing team in 2012. Aditya hopes this association will help him to move ahead and achieve greater results as a driver. Aditya has also trained with the Audi Race experience in Germany in 2012-2013 and became the instructor of the Audi driving experience in India. In the same year, he was the winner of the 24 hrs. Nürburgring (SP 4T) in the Audi TTS. He is also the first Indian to win 4 podium finishes out of 6 races in the JK Racing Asia Series. No wonder then, he was voted the Indian Race Driver of the Year by the highly coveted Overdrive Magazine. Aditya was also the first Indian to be invited to test drive the Audi R8 LMS GT3 with the highly acclaimed Phoenix Racing in 2011. He also won the race at the VW Scirocco Cup at Oschersleben with podium finishes at Hockenheim and Nürburgring (Overall 5th) the same year. He initiated into European Racing with the VW Polo Cup in 2009 and became the instructor for the VW Polo Cup in India the subsequent year. His other achievements include winning the National Championship for the JK Tyre NRC – Formula Rolon 1600 for the Narain Karthikeyan Racing team in 2007 and also the National Championship of the Rotax-Max India Challenge (Go-Karting) in the same year. Read on as he shares tidbits about his exciting life. How did you start racing? As a child, I started with go-karting which was more of a weekend hobby. Soon I was taking part in small competitions and excelling. I realised I love racing and decided to pursue it seriously. Did you face opposition from your family for taking up an orthodox career? No, luckily for me my family has always been very supportive of my decision. It also helped that racing was my father’s hobby so he encouraged me whole heartedly. Who is your source of inspiration? My Father himself was a race driver and in my younger days, when I was just a spectator, I knew it was something I wanted to try my hand at when I was old enough. Hence, when the opportunity arose, I grabbed it! So yes, my father is my inspiration. What are your qualities that help you race better? Patience, I guess. How do you deal with pressure? A. Initially, it wasn’t easy but as years went by, I began to enjoy it a lot lot more. Once, you enjoy something, there’s no question of pressure! Yes, I do train mentally as well. This helps me keep calm during race situations. Tell us a little bit about your family. My dad is into automobiles and is in the service business. My mother is an interior designer and I have a younger brother who also raced for a few years and now works in Singapore. What do you think of the racing scene in India? For one, there’s plenty of interest among youngsters now. Over the last few years, we’ve seen plenty of new faces in the motor sport scene along with the entry of sponsors and manufacturers as well. Time will tell how far and fast we can progress. What are your hobbies? Well, Racing! Apart from that, I enjoy traveling, cycling and not doing much. Please share your fav books, movies and tv shows. Frankly, I don’t read many books. As far as movies and shows are concerned, there are many and for shows, Boston Legal, Suits and Modern Family top my list. Any message for the youngsters who look up to you. Drive responsibly and enjoy what you do!