The next time you’re at Shivaji Park or Carter Road in the evening, don’t be surprised if you see a ‘dinky car’ vroom past you at over 100 kilometres an hour. These cars, which emulate their real-life high performance counterparts, offer the same level of thrill as you’d expect, with detailing right down to terms that only hardcore automobile enthusiasts may understand.
But this racing is only the tip of the iceberg. A couple of times a week, racers from various pockets in the city head to Panvel, and test their skills versus each other on a race track tailor-designed for such radio-controlled (RC) cars.
Twenty-eight-year-old Siddharth Salian owns the complex in Panvel called Radico Sports and runs Tritech Hobbies, a company which imports and sells these miniature motors.
“My father bought me my first RC car in 1994. It was a Tamiya Mitsubishi Pajero,” he says, adding, “Back then, people looked at me as if I was an alien.”
Salian decided to make it a business in 2009 along with two partners outside Mumbai. “The moment one person found out about it, the scene just exploded. We couldn’t even manage to provide the numbers required.
Now there are at least 1,000 owners in Mumbai with such RC cars that cost anything between Rs 8,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh,” he says.
Pune-based Shane Patrick, 30, an automobile engineer himself, has a collection of over 30 RC cars fine-tuned and modified for top performance. “I love the competitiveness and the technology that goes into driving these small cars and I keep pushing myself to get faster lap times at the Panvel races.”
Vishal Pahlajani, 28, gemologist by profession, adds, “It’s very similar to real cars in terms of skill, but not as heavy on the pocket. And it’s also a safer alternative.”
Salian’s professional racing complex is open to anyone who wants to join and compete in the sport. “All you need to do is come over and buy a car. Then head over on the weekend to our Panvel track, make new friends and enjoy racing.”
Types of RC cars n Electric cars use battery packs to power the motor. These cost from Rs 8,000 to Rs 60,000 go up to 150kph. n Nitro cars run on a mixture of nitromethane and touch 120kph. These cars cost from Rs 15,000 to Rs 50,000. Petrol cars range from Rs 60,000 to 1.2 lakh.
Contact Siddharth Salian at 98201 64938 or email email@example.com