Mario Dias

Dubai-based Mario Shar­bel Sarit Dias has a dream – he wants to be a For­mula One driver. He tells how he’s try­ing to crowd­fund his way on to the podium

Emirates Man - - STYLE | DIOR HOMME -

I’m In­dian but was born and raised in Dubai. In 2007, I started train­ing to be a race car driver at Dubai Au­to­drome. One of the in­struc­tors there wanted to see what I could do. He told me any­one can drive a car in a straight line, but he said he saw po­ten­tial in me.

I wanted to go rac­ing, but I needed more train­ing. I started re­search­ing and dis­cov­ered the Ber­til Roos School in Amer­ica. They of­fer in­ten­sive cour­ses and I got to drive in New Jer­sey at a track called Light­ning Race­way. It was ab­so­lutely the real deal, a se­ri­ous busi­ness. The in­struc­tors thought I had po­ten­tial and wanted me to com­pete but I didn’t have the Dhs150,000 I needed to race. I trained for a while in the UK with a guy called Rob Wil­son; he’s a renowned in­struc­tor who taught F1’s Kimi Räikkö­nen. While I was there I took part in an event called the Grand Prix Shoot Out. We drove tour­ing cars, like Fiat 500s. I just felt so com­fort­able be­hind the wheel. I went on to win the Class 3 Cat­e­gory at the UAE Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onships in the 2010/2011 sea­son. Since then, I’ve been try­ing to get into sin­gle-seater races, driv­ing For­mula cars – and I’ve been try­ing to get into For­mula Gulf as well. The prob­lem is money. It costs Dhs278,000 just to take part a the tour­na­ment. It’s really tough to stay mo­ti­vated. Peo­ple will tell you’re not good enough or tal­ented but I’m not do­ing this for a hobby. I want to win.

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