iconimg Thursday, April 02, 2015

Vinayak Pande, Hindustan Times
Coimbatore, July 09, 2012
Many think young, aspiring Indian racing drivers would be itching to leave the country for good. After all, destinations like the United Kingdom, Germany and the U.S. are choc-a-bloc with high-profile and respected racing series and championships that serve as a launching pad for a driver to become a fixture in global motorsport.

The 2010 Volkswagen Polo Cup champion Sailesh Bolisetti certainly took advantage of this when he signed up to race in the British GT Championship this year after competing in the German-based VW Scirocco R Cup.

Such a 'graduation' ideally should not give Bolisetti any reason to miss racing in India, but a chat with him at the Kari Motor Speedway pitlane while the Indian Touring Cars were being revved by their pit crews changed that assumption. Bolisetti winced and smiled as an ear-splitting growl reverberated in the modest pit garage, basically a shed with a corrugated iron-sheet roof.

"I really miss this sound," Bolisetti told HT as the cars literally spit fire from their exhaust pipes while splitting ear drums.

"Except for Formula One, there are heavy sound restrictions on all other racing series and championships in Britain.

“It's weird because that's the only thing that race officials will enforce. They don't even bother scrutinising the car!"

He explained that race officials in the UK do get strict if they have a good reason to. "Normally you know where a driver or team will place. So, if the results play out like they should, nobody bothers to check the cars.

"If a result is out of the ordinary and a protest is lodged, the officials will strip the car right down to the last bolt." Before Bolisetti could explain further, another touring car engine fired up to force the conversation to a halt. Being home never 'sounded' this good for him.

The writer's trip was sponsored by JK TYRE