Chairman and Managing Director of Raymond Limited talks about making a complete lifestyle switch in order to take part in competitive racing
Last year, Chairman and Managing Director of Raymond Limited, Gautam Singhania, made waves after finishing on the podium in the Coppa Shell category of the Ferrari Finali Mondiali race at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit.
Gautam Singhania unveils the design of his car for the upcoming Ferrari Challenge yesterday
Come April 18, Singhania will again make history by becoming the first Indian to race in the Ferrari Challenge Europe Championship 2015, which culminates with the Ferrari Finali Mondiali race.
In fact, this year will see the industrialist make a conscious shift from Page 3 to the sports pages, thanks to his exploits at the racing track. "You won't see me on Page 3 anymore. And if you do, it's one of the rare times that I have ventured out. It's a complete lifestyle change.
"I only have time for my business, my family and racing. My social life at the moment is zero. I'm in bed by 10:30 pm every night watching videos of racetracks of the upcoming races," Singhania revealed yesterday.
Having participated in the 2014 Pirelli Ferrari Open and the 2014-2015 NGK Racing Series last season, the business tycoon will now participate in all the 15 races of the European championship, which are spread over six weekends and will start with a practice session on Friday at Italy's Monza circuit.
"This is a huge commitment in terms of time. I will have to dedicate roughly 80 to 90 days of this year to racing," he added. While one often hears of Formula One drivers undergoing rigourous fitness regimes in order to help their body withstand the physical toll competitive racing takes on it, Singhania says his schedule is so cramped, he doesn't have time to hit the gym.
"I have no time for the gym. Fitness is a state of the mind," Singhania said, before adding that he had lost four kgs in order to prepare himself for the taxing racing season ahead.
At 50, the Raymond scion may be one of the oldest competitors in a grid of 20-25 drivers, but he has enlisted the services of former F1 driver Andrea Montermini to coach him throughout the season.
"Andrea has already brought me up a couple of seconds from Abu Dhabi (the Ferrari Finali Mondiali race). He demands perfection from the word go. He is infinitely more professional in his approach to racing than my former coach. I'm currently working on my braking technique," Singhania said.
Now in its twenty-second year, the Ferrari Challenge consists of three series — Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. The race was originally started in 1993 by Ferrari as a championship for owners of the 348 Berlinetta car who wanted to race. The 348 Berlinetta's have been replaced with the 458C and F430C models. A unique feature of the race is that all the competitors use the same car model. The race is divided into two sections: the Coppa Shell, which is for complete track novices and the Trofeo Pirelli, a race for competitors who already have competition experience.