Aditya Patel | Eat Sleep Drive


Aditya Patel is one of the few Indian racing drivers out there, in the big bad world of racing ensuring that the Indian national anthem plays more frequently on racetracks across the world. Starting off at the age of four in karting, he went on to win the JK Tyre Junior Karting Championship.

Fast forward to 2008, when I was first read about him in Autocar magazine, he had secured a podium finish in Formula BMW Pacific Championship. He moved on to touring car racing with Volkswagen Polo cup and eventually the Sirocco R Cup in Germany.

The really cool bit comes when he gets the chance to drive the utterly cool GT3 cars. Yes the ones with the massive, massive wings. In 2015, he participated in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, and continues to drive in the series this year as well. This single make series is incredibly competitive and offers no chance for a driver to hide behind the car's faults. He's also backed by Audi, and being a factory driver is a Very Good Thing.

sap. What do you think about in the shower?
Aditya: Same as above.[Eat, Sleep, Drive]

sap. How cool is it to be a factory backed professional racing driver?
Aditya: It’s very nice to be backed by a manufacturer, and not just for the racing aspect but for the fact that I get to work directly with Audi in the setting up as well as running of events. Yes, I have to admit, it’s always been a dream to be backed by a manufacturer and Audi was always up there on top when I was a kid.

sap. Nothing that cool comes easy surely. How much did you struggle to get to where you are right now?
Aditya: Well… I raced and raced hard. I guess I was also in the right place and at the right time. Finding sponsors in the early years (and now) was tough but I enjoy every bit of it, so I wouldn’t call it a struggle.

sap. The most exciting bit of my day sitting in the studio in front of my laptop all day long, is when a stray dog wanders in. What was the most exciting moment you've had while sitting in your office (which just so happens to be an Audi R8 LMS currently)?
Aditya: Every second in that car is exciting but the top of the list would be when you’re the first person to see the chequered flag drop in front of that windscreen.

sap. I haven’t read much about you in the news except when I stumble across an article about an Audi launch event. Why do you think the media deprives us of the exciting achievements of young indian drivers?
Aditya: Well, unfortunately in India, motorport is formula one. That being said, I don’t think we can complain about the coverage we get in the media. We still do get a fair share, it’s just that it’s such a niche sport and there’s not much we can do but help it grow for the future.

sap. Which is your favourite track and corner?
Aditya: Favourite track would be the Nurburgring Nordschleife and all time favorite corner would be Turn 1 on the MMRT in Chennai. (Trust me, many drivers would agree with this.)

sap. Who is the fastest racing driver right now?(The only possible answers are a) Kimi Raikkonen b) Kimi Raikkonen c) Kimi Raikkonen d)All of the above)
Aditya: The answer is e) Kimi Raikkonen.

sap. What do you do in your time off?
Aditya: Eat, sleep, drive.

sap. I’ve spent many many hours (107 according to Steam) playing racing games, and it doesn’t seem to be that physically taxing. The fridge and bathroom runs do require some stamina sure, but do you really need to train so hard and not eating anything nice and be able to withstand ridiculously high temperatures for long periods of time?
Aditya: Yes, I do train hard. I love food and this means I need to train extra hard but hey, it’s worth it, isn’t it?

sap. How much stick do your friends give you for being a racing driver and suffer the fate of driving fast Audis for a living?
Aditya: They really don’t care. That’s why they’re my friends.

sap. Which is your favourite racing discipline and where do you see yourself in a couple of years?
Aditya: GT cars and Touring cars are my favorite racing discipline. I’d definitely love to do more races in more countries around the world.

sap. Does your father still think he’s a better/faster driver than you? (my dad simply will never stop advising me, ever.)
Aditya: Yes he does. No questions asked.

sap. Scenario: You have to get from Point A to Point B in any city in India in the fastest time possible. What would you drive and why?
Aditya: That depends on the city. I’ve found my bicycle to be a trusted companion at times.

sap. What are the differences of being a factory driver compared to driving for a privateer team?
Aditya: Well, in GT racing or most forms of racing today, if you’re a factory driver, you still do drive for private teams. Like I said, I’m backed by Audi India and have the option to choose teams and championships that I would like to race in. So coming back to your question, it’s a good mix of both. Times are changing.

sap. Your dream two-car garage?
Aditya: Audi S1 Quattro and my car.

sap. What is going through your mind on a full attack qualifying lap?
Aditya: Not much.

sap. What are you thinking of during a race?
Aditya: Not much. You’re probably thinking I say this because I’m bored of giving answers. But no, I try to keep my mind clear. I know what I need to do and try not to overthink it.

sap. What is your explanation to your relatives, neighbours and the other Indian aunties and uncles for not being an engineer, doctor, or lawyer?
Aditya: Everybody wants a driver in the family, no?

sap. Do you have an emotional connect with racing? Can you describe the beauty of racing? Surely there must be something that compels you to drive round and round a circuit for hours on end.
Aditya: It’s hard to explain really. There’s just this sense of calm and peace that I get behind the wheel. It’s not something normal I guess.

sap. What is the latest gossip in the racing world?
Aditya: Electricity is taking over.

sap. What was the toughest moment of your career, and how did you power your way through it?
Aditya: I did have times when I raced in India back in 2006 when I thought I just wasn’t good enough. But the year after that, I was given a good car and package by Narain Karthikeyan and team. That changed the way I think.

sap. What do you listen to nowadays?
Aditya: Let’s just say I’m not a good listener. Racecars sound nice...

sap. I slightly lose my composure when I seen the Indian flag painted on the side of a racing car next to the drivers name. Is it only me who feels this way?
Aditya: I have to say, it is a nice feeling. You should try it.

sap. What advice do you have for those inspired to follow in your footsteps?
Aditya: Racing’s tough. Don’t take advantage of the fact that things go wrong beyond your control. Sometime’s you just need to shut up and drive what you got. If you don’t enjoy it, it’s not the sport for you.

sap. I don’t want to sound desperate here, but can you please please please invite me to your next race? I said please thrice, so you gotta. #noshame #magicwords #notdesperate
Aditya: #Awkward...

sap. To the unlucky ones whom you won’t invite, what are you doing for the next 12 months?
Aditya: Hibernating.

Thank you Aditya, for taking time out for this interview. Do visit his website, which also happens to use one of my new favourite fonts, Proxima Nova and Maven Pro.

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