BENGALURU: For most people, the prerequisite to getting behind the wheel is a great playlist they can jam to as they drive around. But for Gautam Hari Singhania, there’s no better sound than the revving of an engine. So much so, that the chairman and managing director of Raymond Ltd never plays music in any of the cars he owns.
Singhania discovered his fascination with cars at the age of four, with the first go-kart he owned. Post that, life was about patiently waiting till he turned 18 to acquire his driving licence. Soon after, he took part in his first race and there was no stopping him. Since then, the 53-year-old has gone on to take part in many races and even secured the second position in the overall standings in his maiden full season in Coppa Shell at the Ferrari Challenge Series EU 2015, wherein he secured 10 podiums overall in the Championship including a maiden win at Mugello, Italy.
“More than racing, it’s about cars. I truly enjoy automobiles and its a passion of mine,” says Singhania. His love for the same extends to him even customising the cars he adds to his collection. “I like creating something unique. We customised a BMW M3 with special body case, interiors and engine. We even built a special sand rail for off-roading,” he explains. But ask him which car is his favourite and Singhania promptly says he can’t pick one and appreciates each make and model for its uniqueness. Interestingly, he still possesses his first car, a Fiat 1100.
Convincing his family, however, took some time but not one to give up easily, Singhania kept at it till they eventually came around to accepting his need for speed. “It took some time and a lot of negotiation. I started easing them into it slowly and soon, one event turned into another. They were concerned but they also saw how determined I was,” he recalls.
Racing has had a huge impact on the chairman’s life, ingraining in him the values of discipline and greater mental strength. “You have to make a lot of quick decisions in a race. Life and racing are both about handling pressure so it helps make me mentally stronger,” he shares.
However, due to a hectic schedule, Singhania hasn’t had the time to race much. But he still ensures that he attends motorsports events at least and was recently elected as India’s representative of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) World Motor Sports Council (WMSC) and will represent the FMSCI (Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India) as its titular.