Call yourself a racing enthusiast?
We'd say it's just your luck 'coz we got in conversation with Narain Karthikeyan to help give the right direction to every rookie out there. He takes us through the know-how required for a true racing enthusiast and will help you get to the finish line.
Get your basics right before you speed up
Karting is the most preferred, effective and successful method to prepare a young kid to enter the world of motorsport. Every single one of the current crop of F1 drivers started their careers at their local kart track. The competition is always very intense, and margins between drivers are very small. Karting is the most similar to an actual F1 experience, the perfect introduction to race craft.
Master the craftThe kart is also an excellent learning tool for young drivers to understand the dynamics of a race car and its behaviour, albeit in the most basic form. It also teaches race craft like none other. The grids are so crowded, with upwards of 30 and sometimes even 50 karts per race, if you are going to be successful, you really have to master the arts of qualifying, overtaking, etc.
It’s a stepping stoneAttending one of the well known and established race schools — like the Meco Academy in Hyderabad, Rayo Academy at Pune and Indian Karting (indiankarting.com) in Bangalore — is an effective way to get track ready. Though one can start karting from as early as age 8, the licence to race cars isn’t granted until age 15. The Rookie Cup that happens every year in May, just ahead of the karting season is the stepping stone to the next milestone, the National Karting Championship.
Step on itThe best form of training is actual track time, whether it is in a single seater race car, or just a kart, the basic skill set remains unchanged. Burning rubber may not always be an option, and that’s where simulators come in handy. Technically advanced car driving simulators from cardrivingsimulator.in come with three monitor screens that sync with each other. High resolution LED display, a djustable car seat and a strong metal cockpit are quite close to the actual experience.
BE MINDFUL OF...
Get fit or get outThe fitness levels required by today’s race car drivers is as high as any other sport. It is an honest fact that today’s top flight racing driver — whether he is racing in F1, F2, GP3, F3, Indy Cars, Sports Cars, Japanese Super Formula, or any other form of professional motorsport — is one of the fittest athletes in the world. The forces and stresses exerted on the body are quite high as the body bends in weird ways.
Prone to injuryRib injury and dizzyness caused by dehydration are most common right after a drive. Many long hours in the gym to train core muscles and sound mental health are absolutely essential to be a successful racing driver. A calm mind will relieve one of any anxiety before a race and allow the driver to perform.
Suit-up!Race suits with adequate fire protection, a good helmet and HANS device and a natural sense of self-preservation are the best tools in keeping one safe out on track. Entry-level karting suits with features similar to the more expensive ones make for a good start. They are stylish and comfortable, also fully functional in providing a high level of safety and abrasion resistance.
Go Go-KartingCasual Go-Karting tracks exist in all major cities across India. Some of the best ones are Smaash (Mumbai), Runway 9 (Hyderabad), Kart Attack (Chennai) and 32nd Milestone (Delhi-Jaipur Highway).