A chat with Akbar Ebrahim

Source: Chennaionline

 published on 02nd Oct 2002

 

Race driver-turned-coach, who is training Ajith)

He is one of the most respected names in motor-sport coaching and he has been the trainer and manager for many motor-racing champs. Akbar Ebrahim, race driver-turned-coach, who also runs the Advanced Driving & Corporate Academy has got a new challenge in his hands. To train Ajith Kumar, popular actor of Tamil films, to be a champ in the motor-racing circuit. Ebrahim talks about his tie-up with Ajith and his plans for the actor.

On his tie-up with Ajith: Ajith has had a passion for racing, since he was a child. He has taken part in two-wheeler racing, but then a four-wheeler is a four wheeler! Ajith wanted to be more seriously involved in motor sporting. Itís good for motor sport that Ajith is getting into it. When he approached me to train him and develop his racing skills, I was willing. He is serious, committed and a willing learner. This is probably going to be one of the most challenging jobs I have ever taken up in motor racing as coach, manager or driver. Itís challenging, since Ajith already has a huge fan following and the positive & negative publicity a film star gets in the media and press is something I have to be very conscious about, and not let it interfere with my job.

On the training: He has already participated in the round 1 of the JK Tyre (Formula Maruti) National championship, and he really did well for a first timer. He will take part in the remaining four rounds spread over Oct-Nov-Dec. Meanwhile, heíll be into a five-day intensive training programme with me.

The races Ajith would participate in: On completing the programme, Ajith would be sent to take part in the competition in the Formula Asia Car championship at Zuhai-China. Heíll be made to give a test in the Formula Asia Car raced by last yearís Champion Karun Chandhok in Zuhai. This will be sometime in October, and it is mainly to give Ajith an exposure to a bigger racing car, and prepare him for the Formula Asia Macau Gold cup in November. Macao will prepare him for the coming year's Asian Championship, for it would give him complete exposure to International Motor-sport. Parasuram would be providing the car and other hardware to give the best package to Ajith.

On how he rates Ajith: Ours is a professional school. The very fact that he has shown interest despite his busy schedule, speaks volumes about his commitment. His dedication and his simplicity in his approach is what interested me. Motor racing is probably one of the toughest sports. Ií m a tough task-master. Ajith finished 16th in the first round, and should finish in the top ten. As we go along I can still push him further.

On Ajithís lack of training before going to Macao: (unlike Karun, Asif and others who were well trained before the Macao trip). Ií m using Macao only as a training ground for Ajith. He has to just finish that race. I have no other expectations. The next championship is in March next year. So Macao is the only ground for him to test in. If he just manages to finish the race, Iíll have a lot of respect for him.

Isnít the age of entry important? The general norm today is that you start racing when you are 16-17. And if youíve not achieved anything by 23-24, you quit. But I got into international racing when I was 28. Ajith has already got a serious profession, and heís now into another serious profession. If he is fit enough, if heís got the right package and money he can go far. There are a lot of drivers in the world who are very quick and young. But at the end of the day, itís one with a good package who comes on top.

Malini Mannath 

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