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Racing on life’s track

Published Sep 22, 2019, 1:29 am IST
Updated Sep 22, 2019, 10:34 am IST
David aspires to race in Formula 1, LMP 1 and play Super GT one day.
David Ryan Marthandan
 David Ryan Marthandan

Chennai: A youngster making it to the racing track after winning on the track of life full of thorns and pebbles is nothing short of inspiration to thousands of youngsters out there, especially in a situation when even parents are unable to fathom out their ward and their talent. Meet 20-year-old  David Ryan Marthandan who is pursuing automobile engineering (with a score sheet to boast of) and at the same time surrendering himself to the race track as he can see his future in it.

“I come from a family with engineering background and racing has never been acknowledged there. I was imposed a condition that I had to hold on to academics first and then my passion.”  David is grateful to Alisha Abdullah who convinced his parents to let him chase his dreams. After a short stint with Alisha, David went on to join Narain Karthikeyan who too played a major role in instilling faith in David’s parents who were unsure of their child’s talent.


“As a kid I had always been interested in the sport, attended a few karting sessions but  never got the opportunity to really immerse myself in it. Now my mom knows what I am capable of and is convinced that I can make a living out of it, which is my dream.”

David aspires to race in Formula 1, LMP 1 and play Super GT one day. Currently he trains for Rotax Karting championship, in Kasi motor speedway in Coimbatore twice a month.

As a young racer who has just shaken hands with the track, he has his idols. “ Rubens Barichello who was in F1 during the 2000s displayed relentlessness in his pursuit to win despite failures. Michael Schumacher who was a wet weather driving master conquered almost every given scenario. Narain Karthikeyan who was in F1 in 2005 managed to show his talent even when his car was not as fast as the race leaders. Even now he is 42, he continues to drive, which is very inspiring. Mika Hakkinen during Schumacher’s era was one of the toughest drivers on the track.”


David believes, “These were legends who have experienced it all and bounced back. Losing in a race is a more intense feeling than even winning a race. I look up to them because they show the strength and character that one needs in a sport like this. Their relentlessness is truly inspiring” David has a very personal bonding with Narain. “ He just knows how to handle a situation in a mature way and ensure a stress free environment.”

What are the challenges the young car racer has faced in his one year old experience till date? “It was during my intercollege competition. There was a major brake issue during the first two races. My front left wheel was constantly locking up, but I still managed to work around it and  I came first. Before the third round, they tried to fix the issue and it led to a lot of time running out and loss in my straight line speed. I came second. “


David has a message for other aspirants out there. “ I always study my track before I get on it and it helps me anticipate and take the turns in the fastest possible manner. I always consider the technical viewpoint and being calculative is very important. When I started out, I was a decent performer and soon my rate of improvement was higher than the rest.”

David spends two hours in gym as physical fitness reflects on performance. “I have lost 15 kilos since I joined Narain sir’s team. Thanks to the enormous exercises I have done during the training sessions.”


And now there is no looking back for David as in his words, “Now I have my family with me who has understood where my passion can lead me to.”