Meet School boy Vikash Anand is headed for the F1 Racing Circuit at Noida for the MRF Formula Ford Championship

Vikash Anand constantly fiddles with his iPhone and dashes off a message every other minute. He is a typical teenager, except that he is all geared up to drive a 150bhp race car at the brand-new Formula One racing circuit in Greater Noida at the end of this month. The 17-year-old Chennai lad competes in the MRF Formula Ford championship, which serves as the support race for the inaugural Formula One Grand Prix of India.

The Indian Grand Prix is the fulfilment of a long cherished dream for Indian racing enthusiasts and Vikash is thrilled to be associated with this historic event. He also takes pride in the fact that he is the youngest driver in the MRF Formula Ford championship. “As 17-year-olds, Britain's Jordan King and I are younger than others. And I beat King to the youngest tag by a few months,” says Vikash, a class XII student of Lady Andal.

In this championship, Vikash is pitted against opponents who have raced in prestigious international series. Twenty-three-year-old Nick Percat, winner of the Australian Formula Ford championship, races in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series. British driver Alice Powell, another heavyweight, is the 2010 Formula Renault BARC champion.

Vikash also rubs tyres with many other accomplished drivers, including Aswin Sundar, Gaurav Gill, Jukka Honkavuori and Phillipe Layac. “In this championship, I finished sixth in one of the races. I will aim at being in the top five in the Noida leg of the championship,” says Vikash. “It is my first year in the Formula Ford championship, and this is a realistic goal.”

He thinks being the youngest is no handicap – he has proved this point in the past. “In 2008, when I was 14 years old, I had a podium finish in the juniors' edition of JK Tyre's Formula Maruti championship.

This record toppled the one held by Armaan Ebrahim. In December 2009, I won the JK Tyre Junior Cup driving a Formula Maruti car and became the youngest to do so.”

Vikash has earned the admiration of his seniors. French driver Phillipe Layac, who owns Rendez-Vous Racing, extended to Vikash the irresistible offer of a slot in his team for the Renault BARC championship 2012 after he noticed the Indian negotiate the corners of a race track with great skill.

Says Vikash's father, “He does not bother to study his opponents and, therefore, does not feel intimidated by their achievements. He believes in getting on the track and driving the way he knows to drive – this self-assurance works very well for him.”

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MetroplusJune 28, 2012