Fast not Furious Born to a former rally champion, the quiet Narain Karthikeyan has speed in his blood. We catch up with him to find out what it’s like to be “the world’s fastest Indian”.
How did you take to motor racing?
It was all I knew growing up. My father was a former national rally champion— he won the South India rally seven times. I am also related to S. Karivardhan, who was not just a successful car racer, but also the designer of several low-cost formula cars. Growing up in such an environment, I never really considered any other career.
Your greatest achievement.
Making my Formula One debut for Jordan in 2005. It’s every racer’s dream to drive in Formula One and it was no different for me. India’s not really a motor racing country and getting the right kind of training and corporate support can prove difficult. The most treasured sporting moment. Winning the A1GP race in May this year. Sure, I’ve won races before this, but nothing beats the feeling of winning for your country. I felt so charged up when my team cheered for me and they played the national anthem in the end. It felt really good when the President personally congratulated me.
Your dream car
The Porsche Carrera because it’s luxurious and sporty all at once. I am also quite fond of the Audi R8 & Nissan GTR for similar reasons.
The car you drive
Tata Safari Dicor. It’s the best bet for Indian roads. It’s one of the few Indian SUVs on the road, and it’s very powerful and agile for its size.
Your sporting hero
Ayrton Senna. The Brazilian triple F1 champion was my favourite hero. He is a legend when you talk of motor racing. He started his career at a very young age and had this fiery streak of never giving up which really inspired me. A little known fact about you. I am quite religious and superstitious by nature. Since motor racing is all about high speed and taking chances, I make it a point to visit nearby temples before any race.
Your favourite holiday destination
I love Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. I am all for spicy food and their local cuisines are my all-time favourites. I am big on adventure sports and like to go trekking and rock climbing with friends.
How do you unwind?
Motor racing takes a tremendous toll on your body. I like to relax by watching movies and listening to music. Madonna and Jon Bon Jovi are my favourite artistes.