A tribute to a legend in Indian motorsports

Special sports car section inaugurated in memory of Karivardhan

It has been 24 years since the legendary S. Karivardhan, the man who changed the motorsport scenario in the country, bid goodbye to this world. But every time you mention his name one gets emotionally charged such was his mighty contribution towards the sport.

Those who had watched this speed merchant at his best at the Sholavaram race track in Chennai and his amazing car creations from close quarters would talk for hours about this tough hombre, though he did not look one. But the current generation has probably heard very little about this motor sport genuis. They need to know more and that's one reason a `Special Sports Car' section was inaugurated at the GeDee Car Museum (a unit of the G.D. Naidu Charities) here on Thursday.

This special section showcases the different two-seater and single seater cars built by Kari. There were some rare photos and press articles too. It well explained the true story of this great personality.

But, why a special section after many years? Kari's favourite competition number was 65 and G.D. Rajkumar, the Trustee of the GeDee Car Museum over a chat with his friend last year struck upon the idea of doing something in his memory. He chose this day as it was Kari's 65th birth anniversary (June 20, 1954).

It was not an easy task though for Mr. Rajkumar. He worked hard for over nine months and today he is a happy man having done something for his mentor. “I am extremely satisfied and feel have done justice for Kari. He was my inspiration and guided me in lots of things in my life,” he said.

“I knew about his innovations and I want the future generation of engineers and automobile enthusiasts to see and get inspired,” he added.

Present during the occasion were the late Kari's motorsport friends and family members. It was an emotional moment for each one of them.

“Kari is a Gentleman, Great Sportsman, Designer and Constructor of cars are all understatements. He deserves an even higher level of praise as there were a number of people who benefitted out of him. If today what car racing is, it is largely because of him,” said veteran racing star D. Vidyaprakash.

“When I hung my gloves in 1984, Kari wanted me to test his first Formula India single seater. It triggered me and brought me back to racing. He is a great person and if he had been around now racing would have been at the highest level both nationally and globally,” he added.

“It's a great intiative by Mr. Rajkumar. Kari was a racing driver par excellence. Apart from that, he was a visionary and an amazing team principal and builder of race cars. Most importantly, he is one of the greatest human beings I have ever known,” said Akbar Ebrahim, former President, Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India (FMSCI).

“He took me on as a first professional driver in Lakshmi Mills and I became part of the team and that's how I kickstarted my career. I started the Kari Racing Academy in his memory. That is what he wanted to do and till today, I continue to do that but not the way he had visualised because he was so professional and that's the greatness of this man,” he added.

India's first F-1 racer Narain Karthikeyan had this to say: “He gave me that push start in my career and, with it, laid a strong foundation. I owe a lot to him. Without him there would not have been single-seater racing like Formula Maruti, which he built in 1989.”

He said there were so many other drivers who have driven his Formula cars before graduating to the global level. “He formed the backbone of Indian motorsport. There are so many memories that I recollect today. It's an incredible job done by Mr. Rajkumar. The museum will keep his memories alive.”

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:15:23 AM |

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