Mumbai resident Jehan Daruvala, 12, will become the first Indian to participate in the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy, which has been a breeding ground for Formula 1 world champions like Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Michael Schum-acher, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
Daruvala, a student of the Bombay Scottish School, Mahim, was selected by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) to represent India at the trophy based on his performance at this season's JK Tyre National Rotax Karting Championship. He currently leads the standings in the junior division of the championship.
The youngster from Dadar could not be reached for a comment as he is in Malaysia for the Asian Rotax Karting Championship, but Daruvala's mentor and owner of Rayo Racing — the team for which he races — Rayomand Banajee was overjoyed.
"The biggest benefit is that 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 a specialised karting commission of world motorsport governing body Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (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.
Banajee, who has been working with Daruvala for the past two years, feels the teenager has 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," said Banajee.