Viswas Vijayaraj who is barely in his twenties is fast becoming a hot sensation in formula 4 racing. The Malayalee youth settled in Nellore in Andhra Pradesh has already bagged up several prizes in motor car racing championship.
20th July, 2019. The Madras Race track, Chennai. The whole racing arena resounded with thundering roars emanating from cars that were geared up for the 1300CC formula race car competition. Motor race enthusiasts are assembled on the gallery to watch the first round of MRF Indian National Racing Championship 2019 being held there on this day. The race track was spread out over 3.717 Km, complete with 12 bends and 3 straights, through which the single-seater racing cars surged along with much gusto. As the race progressed to a feverish pitch, the car of the DTS Racing team could be steadily seen overtaking the other stalwarts confidently. At one point, it was on a neck-to-neck competition with fellow racers from M-Sports as well as Momentum Motor sports. But within no time, it had zoomed ahead to reach the final lap and crossed the finish line with an impressive victory. The crowd cheered heartily to see a youngster, barely in his 20’s, get out of the victorious vehicle, remove his helmet, and walk confidently to the podium, in the midst of thunderous applause.
We were pleasantly surprised to know that this adventurous young man, Viswas Vijayraj, happened to be the son of a Malayalee couple settled in Nellore dist. of Andhra Pradesh. His father, P Vijayraj, is a businessman from Puthukkad in Thrissur, who owns a dealership of refrigerators and air conditioners at Nellore. His mother, Swapna Sukumaran is also from Thrissur. Viswas learnt the basics of driving in their Maruti Omni van, from his father, a vehicle enthusiast himself, at the tender age of seven. A diehard fan of Michael Schumacher, this father-son duo would never ever miss out on any of his racing events. Gradually, Viswas came to realize that cars were his life, and that his true interest and passion lay behind the steering wheel.
“I realized right from an early age that more than anything else around me, I was attracted to cars. That is the sole reason why my father taught me driving when I was just seven years old. Even as a student at the Nellore Modern School, my head used to be filled with the thunderous roars of the racing cars. I used to dream passionately of being a racing car winner sometime in life. But I had no clue as to how I could make a career out of my passion”, says Viswas Vijayraj.
It was when he was a plus-two student at the NRI Junior College at Nellore that he heard about Max Verstappen, who had participated in the F1 championships at the age of 18. “I wondered as to how he could participate in such a prestigious competition in this young age. This led to my sourcing out the web, gaining information related to car racing, which subsequently cemented my decision to pursue this as my career. My parents initially objected to my decision, mainly due to the dangers connected to this sport, but ultimately they had to give in due to my unwavering persistence”, says Viswas.
It was sometime then that another Malayalee champion by name of Diljith T S opened a racing academy at Coimbatore called DTS Racing. This was an academy which trained children right from the age of six, and included GoKarting experiences too. Most importantly, one didn’t have to be eighteen years old to drive on a racing track. Viswas contacted Diljith and after an initial telephonic conversation that lasted hours, the latter was convinced about the passionate interest shown by the boy, and invited him to train in his academy at Coimbatore. Viswas proved to be different from the other beginners in this arena. It was all about speed and accuracy along with a high level of concentration and focus which enabled Viswas to finish races in very less time. Diljith was very much convinced about this young man’s ability to become a champion in the racing track.
Although he joined Dayanandasagar College of Engineering at Bangalore for Mechanical Engineering after his Plus two studies, he was still obsessed about a career in racing. Slowly he managed to convince his parents about his true calling, which was certainly not of an engineer and within a year, he discontinued his studies to carry on his training at DTS Racing.
He trained at the Kari Motor Speedway at Chettippalayam in Coimbatore. “It was Diljith who taught me the nuances and techniques of racing. My parents supported me throughout in this journey, and ultimately, I ended up participating for the Formula 1300 category at the MRF National Championship in 2018. There were a total of 23 racers, both professionals and amateurs, of which 7 of them were very experienced pros. There were a total of 9 rounds in different tracks at both Coimbatore as well as Chennai, and I was able to consistently find a place among the first eight in these races. Twice, I had to abandon the race, due to a technical snag in my vehicle. Even though I was not able to win, my first year’s racing experience gave me valuable insight about my skills and limitations about myself”, says Viswas Vijayraj.
His stint in DTS Racing also enabled Viswas to participate in the JK Tyre National Novice Cup. “There were a total of six races in the JK Novice cup championships. I managed to obtain the first place in one race, and the third in another race.” The fact that he could attain victory in the very first year of his entry, boosted his self confidence considerably. The victory attained at the MRF National Car Race Championship at Chennai on the 20th of July, was a continuation of this series of victories. The final round of this championship is slated to be held in coming September.
It was following this victory of his that the SmartDrive team reached the Kari Speedway at Coimbatore to witness Viswas’s race. It was for the first time that he was participating at the Formula LGB F4 category at the JK Tyre National Racing championship on the 27th of July. When compared to competitions in other categories, this is considered more challenging in every way. Moreover, participants included seven racers who had been several times national champions too. Vishwas participated under another banner, Avalanche Racing in F4LGB race. We saw that prior to the race, the technicians were giving his car No. 95, a final round of inspection. “Viswas is a brilliant Formula racer. His dedicated approach is certainly helping him to stay put in this field, despite his young age”, said Diljith a tad bit proudly about his student. Diljith is also participating in the race through another team.
The elimination round involved sifting through 25 racers spread across 5 teams , and Viswas easily clocked 1.14 minutes and qualified it. The first race was at 3.30 pm. Due to a technical problem with the vehicle’s gear shift, although Viswas completed the race, he couldn’t perform to his full ability. “Preparing for a race starts days in advance, says Viswas. Some days, we may not even be able to get adequate sleep. But all that becomes insignificant in the thrill and huge adrenalin rush experienced on the day of the race.” On a straight track, he was seen to be racing at a speed of 169k/h.
If you have a genuine passion for racing, there is absolutely no reason why anyone shouldn’t take up racing as a career option, opines Viswas. “A lot of people are becoming aware of this possibility especially since companies like MRF and JK Tyres are really actively working in this field. But so said, it is also another fact that racing is certainly an expensive affair. It takes an expenditure of almost Rs. 10 Lakhs to be able to participate in competitions spanning a single season, and that is what should be sourced out through sponsorships. Personally, I intend to obtain atleast Rs. 3 to 4 Lakhs through sponsorships”, says Viswas. Currently, he is trying to cut a contract for a period of two to three years with some related company. “The sponsors can inturn avail the benefit of branding their products through my car and suit. Since I give out various tips and advices for racing enthusiasts through my fb and Instagram pages, I would be using these platforms for their promotions too, says Viswas.
If I can claim the National championship of MRF and LGB F4, I can definitely participate in India’s high speed car categories of Formula BMW and MRF 1600. “I also have plans to go to Italy or other such nations to gain more experience in Formula BMW or testing Formula Renault 2.0. This enthusiastic youngster has definite hopes of getting elevated to Formula BMW or MRF 1600 by next year. He aims to put a feather in India’s cap by winning the Asian International Championship that includes Formula SEA, or Formula 4 of the Asian Cup or Formula 3 of the Asian Series, thus bringing glory to his nation.
Viswas has a younger sibling, Akshay, who is a student of class 7. Although he does not share his elder brother’s enthusiasm in racing, he certainly finds big thrill in supporting and encouraging him. He is sure of the fact that one day, his brother would definitely put India’s name in international racing maps by donning the coveted crown.
Viswas Vijayraj is truly a name that is synonymous with victory. We, at SmartDrive, has no doubts about the fact that this is a boy who is surely speeding on his way to success.
Copyright: Smartdrive- August 2019