[Psychologies] ‘There is no formula to prevent a car crash’

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Akhil Khushlani
Akhil Khushlani, 23, Kart racer

How did you get into kart racing?
I started at the age of nine. My father was involved in bike racing, so I was accustomed to life on the track. When the first karting track opened in Hyderabad, I took up the sport seriously. I won in three categories, the under-12, under-16 and the open class for professionals. My father is my coach, so my family is very supportive and appreciative as they are familiar with the world of racing.

How did you balance studies and the sport?
I just completed my private pilot licence course but I haven’t taken up piloting professionally. To an extent, it has been difficult to juggle racing and academics. Luckily, my exams were held during the off-seasons, so I had time to prepare. My school supported me a lot, my teachers were understanding.

Do you have a fan following among your friends?
They do ask me questions and display a general curiosity about my activities. They are keen and like to know about it.

What kind of safety measures do you ensure during the races?
In 2004, I broke my floating ribs in an accident in a splitlevel go-karting race. There have been other crashes too but nothing as major as this. Formula cars are safer but there is no absolute formula to prevent a car crash. What is more important is that we maintain a positive frame of mind and stay alert.

How do you get sponsored?
Initially, I invested on my own. As I started establishing myself, key sponsors came, such as JK Tyres. The budget is huge. Participating in GP3 or F3 could cost anything between €9,000 to €1.5 million, which is why, sometimes, sponsors hesitate.

What is the future of karting in India?
Karting is gaining popularity. There is a growth in motor sports and their viewership. People are reading up and trying to digest the sport. Delhi, too, provides racers with many opportunities.

Ananya Borgohain 

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