Fast and Furious

Many teenagers spend their free time listening to music or gaming. This guy finds his thrills burning rubber on the track. It’s an out-of-this-world experience that words cannot fully describe. Aerospace Engineering student, Ananth Shanmugam, shares his experience.

Do you know who Lewis Hamilton is? He is a British Formulae One racing driver from England. And among my friends and lecturers, I am known as the Lewis Hamilton of Temasek Polytechnic!

In my free time away from school, I go to the tracks and “burn” rubber tyres, and strive to clock even faster times in my Formula BMW. How cool is that? Not everyone can get a chance to be a formula racer in Temasek Polytechnic. I must say, I am really one of a kind here!

My interest in formula racing did not come by watching TV or playing random electric toy cars at a shopping mall. Rather, my interest in racing was piqued when my father brought me to visit this go-karting ring in 2009 and my interest grew ever since. I was only 11 back then, but I cannot resist to always go-kart again and again. It was really thrilling and exciting. I always feel a sense of kick whenever I go go-karting.

Formula BMW is a junior racing formula for single seater cars. It is really competitive, I must say. Yet, the Formula BMW acts as a stepping stone for me to become a future F1 Driver, just like Daniel Ricciardo and Sebestian Vettel did! I really want to be like them in the future!

Usually people would think that only one can get a licence and drive after reaching 18 years of age. Fret not! Formula BMW caters to the younger generation as their first car racing adventure! If you really love cars and racing as much as I do, you can try go-karting too! And if you are really interested, you can further your passion thereafter!

Being such an avid racer, I was really lucky to emerge as the 2nd runner-up for the JKTyre Racing Championships in 2014. This event was held in India and I was really nervous to be in the competition as I was competing with so many people from all walks of life.


Ananth (in red) popping the champagne after a race

With my interest in formula racing, I took up the Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Everyone always tell me that formula racing and aerospace engineering are worlds apart! Actually not so. With aerospace engineering, I can better understand the design and components of a racing machine, cos there are similarities between an aircraft and a car With the engineering concepts that I’ve learnt in school, it is able to help me maximise my performance on the tracks!

However, no matter how interesting and cool this sport can be, there are of course risks. When I first started in this sport, I was really afraid that someday, I might just get a really bad injury because this sport is definitely dangerous. But every racing driver has to take this risk for the love of the sport. This is where we show that passion can overcome anything, even our deepest fear, or maybe even death. Well, I am so thankful for the modern technology in the world that has helped to reduce the possibilities of getting injured.

In motor racing, the only person capable of making you win a competition is yourself. Hence the ones who can truly make your dream and passion come alive is YOU. So there is a lot we can learn from the motor-racing sport. Each and every individual should strive and work hard to achieve his or her dreams. My dream is to win the 24 hour Le Mans Endurance race. What’s yours?



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