Sports

Pavan goes fast

Teenager's goal is to carve out a career in motorsports

He grew up idolising Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton, religiously following the fortunes of the Englishman, first at British outfit McLaren and now with the German marque Mercedes.

When Pavan Ravishankar turned 12, a friend from school invited him to try go-karting at the Kartright Speedway circuit in Joo Koon, and he has not looked back since.

Soon, the St Joseph's Institution (International) student started racing go-karts in competitions held both locally and abroad.

Two weeks ago, Pavan beat 11 other drivers in the senior category to claim the first round of the X30 Challenge Singapore 2016, the first internationally-sanctioned go-kart race held locally at the KF1 Karting Circuit in Kranji.

The champion after five rounds walks away with a deLaCour watch worth nearly $30,000.

In last year's inaugural series, the fourth round attracted more than 90 drivers from around the globe.

While the win is Pavan's first big step as he strives to make it big in motor racing, the teenager is not getting carried away.

"Formula 1 is the dream, but my ultimate aim is definitely to be doing any sort of motorsport as a career," the 16-year-old told The New Paper yesterday.

"This year, my dad has already paid for my racing expenses. But if I want to make a step forward next year, I definitely need a sponsor because the budget is going to get bigger."

Pavan's mother, Indra, has reached out for help to fund his endeavour, but has heard nothing positive so far.

"We've spoken to people we know who we feel have the means," the 50-year-old homemaker told TNP.

"In fact, Pavan has taken a lot of initiative himself - he started drawing up his own proposals on PowerPoint and we've been giving it to people to see how best they can help.

"For motor racing, it's not counting dollars and cents; it's actually quite a bit."

Go-kart drivers usually fork out around $30,000 a year to compete in a full race. The figure includes the car and engine, racing gear and track fees. Practice fees are additional.

With such heavy costs, Pavan admitted that he needs to put himself out there to woo potential sponsors.

He has joined the Asian Formula Renault Series, a 12-round single-seater car race held in China, South Korea and Thailand, with the overall champion receiving a full scholarship to compete in the European version of the series.

"That's what I'm really trying to focus on - to be the top Asian driver in the championship this year," said Pavan, who will be going up against top-class drivers from Europe.

More than 30,000 spectators watched the first two rounds that were held in Zhuhai last weekend, and he added: "This is definitely the next step. Depending on my results, it will open more doors for me next year."

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