In his childhood he sought inspiration from wheels or even buttons. In his teenage years, he left for his first training session to Thailand. Later he was trained for the four wheeler by F3 racing driver Akbar Ibrahim from where he made it to the VW Polo R Cup Championship to begin his journey. Introducing Lee Keshav, who believes in maximizing his power to reign on the racing circuit. He finished 3rd in the MRF National Racing Championship 2014. After his first national win, he was chosen to race in the MRF Challenge winter championship.
Highlights of this episode
- His training session on Superbikes in Thailand at the age of 16 and subsequently being called by the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup in Spain.
- Making peace with a situation under pressure to progress ahead on track.
- Working as the Design Head of Hike Messenger in New Delhi.
Quotes and Takeaways
- “Start early and be honest with yourself. Understand if you’re here just for fun or you really want to become a professional racing driver.”
- “That win really helped me realize that being calm and confident makes a huge difference. And regardless of the situation you should never give up!”
When did you find your first sprint towards becoming a car racer? Do you recall any specific incident which stands as the cornerstone of your persuasion?
Growing up I was always very passionate about anything with wheels or buttons. I still have memories of riding my first bicycle and feeling the sensation of speed. I would ride it all day and night. Even indoors. Looking back I’m pretty sure I was addicted to it (laughs).
I was never directly exposed to racing. So my introduction happened through television. It was literally love at first sight. Right away, I knew this is what I was going to do in life.
What has been the most exciting moment of being in the motorsport profession?
It would be impossible to name one. There’s so much I’ve experienced in the past few years.
One highlight would be my debut in the International MRF Challenge. It was an overwhelming weekend and I savored every moment of it.
Can you take us to a moment of a high pressure situation on track which you experienced?
At the Round 3 of the 2014 VW Championship in Delhi I was the strongest driver and won the first race of the weekend. For the second race we have a reverse grid and the winner of the first starts 8th. When I lined up on the grid to start the race my Launch Control didn’t work. This right away dropped me to 12th.
It all happened really fast and lost me a lot of ground to the leading drivers. I was under very high pressure and felt there’s no way I’ll be able to catch up. But as the panic got overtaken by the adrenalin I quickly started making my way through the field and overtook all the leading drivers to win the race.
That win really helped me realize that being calm and confident makes a huge difference. And regardless of the situation you should never give up!
You started your journey from a training session on Superbikes in Thailand. How was the experience?
It’s quite an interesting story on it’s own. My first step into racing was through bikes with the dream to race in MotoGP. After reading an article on an automotive magazine I realized that you don’t have to be 18 to compete in racing. It was quite a revelation as I wasn’t aware enough of motorsport till then.
Somehow the 15 year old me managed to convince my parents to let me experience motorsport. The closest thing I found was in Thailand. A riding school run by a nice British man. The bikes were really powerful and well beyond my skills so it was quite a big jump for me. Thankfully I never crashed and learned enough to get invited by Red Bull to Europe for a selection event.
Due to my lack of practice compared to the other riders I couldn’t make it to the academy. But the whole experience changed my perspective and my goals in life. For the first time I had real validation and exposure to racing. That really inspired and pushed me to take it forward.
Did working as the Head of Design at Hike messenger help you in your profession?
Definitely. I believe everything you do in life no matter how small or big makes a difference. Working at Hike Messenger has been an important part of my life and the exposure I received there has really helped me define and build my professional career.
Who are the car racers you look up to? What attributes about them do you admire?
I was always a big fan of Michael Schumacher. I know people think it was boring to see him win all the time but I admired his pure domination in the sport. Either by talent or by politics. He maximized everything in his power to win. Just like Harvey Spector from the show Suits. Nothing but a win would do.
I also really look up to Lewis Hamilton. He is one of the best racers of all time and his no BS attitude on the racetrack is really inspiring. His personal growth as a celebrity is very intriguing as well.
Do you personally focus on any specific dexterity to progress further in motorsport?
Ideally I would like to train and test racecars all the time. But that requires a lot of money. My focus right now is to raise funding to allow me to move to the next level. So to answer your question I am specifically working on developing my skillset as a salesman (laughs).
What’s your message to fellow racing drivers?
The exposure and opportunities today are much bigger than they were even just five years ago. Start early and be honest with yourself if you’re here just for fun or you really want to become a professional racing driver one day. There’s a lot of hard work and struggle behind all the glamour. But with the right mindset and dedication you can go really far.
To gain further insights about the Motorsport industry and understand how to pursue it as a profession take a Master Class by Lee Keshav.