The stage where Formula One legend Ayrton Senna, by his own admission, had his greatest motorsport battles (see box) will soon be graced by a 12-year-old Mumbai-lad - Jehan Daruvala.The Bombay Scottish School, Mahim, student was selected to represent India at the CIK-FIA karting academy trophy by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) based on his performance in this season's JK Tyre national rotax karting championship.
The Dadar resident, who currently leads the standings in the junior division at the JK Tyre national rotax karting championship, will become to first Indian to compete in the prestigious international karting championship that has been the breeding ground for many future F1 world champions including Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
Daruvala was not available for comment as he is currently participating at the Asian rotax karting championship in Malaysia. His mentor and owner of Rayo Racing, for whom he races, Rayomand Banajee was overjoyed with the development.
"The biggest benefit is he will be racing across tracks in Europe with the best junior kart-racers in the world. There's a lot he can learn in these three races," Banajee told HT over phone from Coimbatore.
The CIK-FIA is the specialised karting commission of the world motorsport governing body FIA. The karting academy trophy is run as a support race to the under-18 world karting championship at 3 Rounds - Italy, France and Bahrain.
On Daruvala, Banajee said, "I've been working with him for the past two years. Even the first time he got behind the wheel you could make out that he had a natural feel for the road. We trained him for a year, and when he finally did make his karting debut last season, he won the championship (JK Tyre rookie cup) in his first attempt."
Off the track he can be a hell-raiser, at times, asserts his mentor, but once he's behind the wheel Daruvala has an unwavering focus. "He can be quite naughty at times, but he's very focused when it comes to racing. This is what he sees himself doing when he grows up," added Banajee.