Gautam Singhania, chairman and managing director of the Raymond Group, loves to live in the fast lane, yet he is a simple family man at heart. He talks to Rinky Kumar about his passion for speed, idols, hobbies and dreams
He owns a fleet of fancy wheels, a yacht, is an adrenaline junkie and yet finds enough time to successfully run a Rs 5,500 crore textile empire. ‘Multi-faceted’ gets a new definition when one comes across Gautam Singhania — the ever-young chairman and managing director of the Raymond Group.
A bright yellow Ferrari 458 model sits on his office table at his Altamount Road residence. In one end of the room, the 48-year-old business czar is busy working on his laptop, clad in a red t-shirt and a pair of jeans — a sports enthusiast who loves all good (and fast) things in life and at the same time, is an industrious man who heads the world’s largest textile conglomerate.
Gautam Singhania with his Lamborghini.
“I have inherited a sense of risk-taking from my father Vijaypat Singhania. Obviously, my father tells me to be careful while driving, but even he has done many adventurous things in his life such as flying and hot air ballooning ,” he says with a smile.
The business czar in action while drifting
Fast & furious
Gautam Singhania’s love affair with speed began at the age of four when he got a go-kart. His father noticed his passion for cars and bought young Gautam a Premier Padmini 1100 for his 18th birthday.
At Malta where he won the amateur section of the Allstars European Drifting Championship in 2012
Singhania remembers that Padmini with much fondness, though he has moved to faster cars since — Ferraris, a Lotus Elise and a Lamborghini Gallardo. In 2009, he formed the Super Car Club (SCC) to bring together super car owners across India under one roof. “It is a forum for like-minded car enthusiasts to show their cars to the public. We go on adventure drives too. Last week, we went on a road trip to Rajasthan. Now we have an offer to go to Oman and are keen to open a Dubai chapter,” he says excitedly.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that his idol is Niki Lauda, the former F1 World Champion. Singhania is no pushover behind the wheels too. In 2008, he zoomed into the Limca Book of Records when he drove a Nissan Skyline GTR across a quarter mile in 9.2 seconds and set the fastest time for a drag race in India. “Now I’m looking at big wins abroad,” he says.
Over the last two years, he has also developed a keen interest in drifting, a driving technique where the driver over steers, causing loss of traction in the wheels, while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner. In 2012, he won the amateur section of the Allstars European Drifting Championship at Malta. The win helped him bag an international pro drift license and made him India’s first professional drifter. Currently Singhania is the fastest lap record holder at the Buddh International Circuit in a Ferrari 458 at 1 minute 59.44 seconds.
Life’s like that
Yet, Singhania prefers to describe himself as a simple man. “I like to spend a lot of time with my family — wife and two daughters, at my farmhouse. I enjoy watching cricket too. I was ecstatic when India won the 2011 World Cup in Mumbai. Dhoni and Sachin are my favourite cricketers,” he says.
When it comes to fashion, he likes to keep it simple but stylish. “I wear what makes me comfortable. In fact, most of my outfits are from the Raymond Made-to-Measure line.” And yes — this 48-year-old could put most 28-year-olds to shame with his fitness. “I like to stay fit so that I can indulge in motor sports. I’m an adrenaline junkie,” he admits.
Singhania says he carries this same enthusiasm to work. The head of the Raymond Group happily admits that he learns different things from his staff every day and it helps him become a better human being. “If you keep your eyes and ears open, you can learn many things. After all, life is constantly evolving,” he says.
Magazine: All AIT and lifestyle magazines
Film: French Kiss
Born: September 9, 1965
First job: Raymond