“Nothing gets handed to you on a silver platter in life- and definitely not in motorsport.” Advait Deodhar would know. The Mumbai native only started racing at 22, which is positively ancient in motorsport circles. He’s steadily made ground to come a long way since then, but it hasn’t been easy. Funding is hard to come  by, and the competition consistently fierce.

Now 28, Deodhar has found long-awaited recognition with a remarkable win on his debut in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in Valencia. His first-ever time racing in Europe, he quickly adapted to a new car and a changed time trial format successfully, to secure pole position against Championship veterans. The
significance of the victory is not lost on him. “(It has helped) quite a lot. It has definitely caught the interest
of teams, race organizers and more importantly NASCAR USA. However, I still need funding to
continue.”

To continue in the next round of the Championship, in Franciacorta, Italy, Deodhar faces the familiar foe of
finances. The dedication needed to persevere in the unforgiving environment of motorsport is necessary,
Deodhar feels, to have a chance at a career. “It’s a hard journey and field. It’s not just driving cars fast
and travelling the world. You need to be ready to sacrifice everything you have got, to make it. You need
to be able to raise funding to compete, work with the media, work on your fitness, manage sponsors, find more
sponsors and continually try to improve.”

People underestimate the physical aspects of race car driving. A driver’s training schedule is as rigorous, if not more, than more obviously athletic sports. Lewis Hamilton revealed in an interview that he loses up to five kilos from exertion over a race – and he has to gain that weight and remain healthy before he races again in two weeks. “Racing drivers are elite athletes. You need to be extremely fit to race and be at your peak,” Deodhar explains. “Racing drivers are as fit, if not fitter, than football players or tennis players. I have a very intense workout regime. I do a lot of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and cardiovascular training. I’m 6’4” so whether I like it or not, I come with added weight. I need to keep myself as slim as possible, and still have the strength and endurance to withstand the heavy G-forces and heat one has to endure while driving.”

Deodhar knew from the onset that racing was an uphill, arduous endeavor. Part of the reason he started so late was because it took time for him to work up the desire and conviction to put his all into it. He went to university in Italy and graduated with a degree in automotive design. It was only then, after immersing himself in the automotive world, that he realised that he wanted to be driving cars, not drawing them.

Despite the difficulties and trials he has faced in his journey, Deodhar, six years after his leap of faith, remains upbeat and in love with driving. “At the end of the day, when it all comes together, nothing in life puts a bigger smile on your face than driving a race car to the limit and winning.” Formula One and the main NASCAR
circuit may remain elusive, but he maintains lofty goals. “I want to be crowned World Champion in motorsport, in whichever category it is. I won’t stop until I do.”