MO­TOR­SPORT HE­ROES: J ANAND

Evo India - - Contents - Words: Di­payan Dutta

In the sec­ond in­stal­ment of mo­tor­sport he­roes, we catch up with a man who is an icon of In­dian mo­tor­sport

We travel to Coim­bat­ore to meet the man who is an au­to­mo­tive in­sti­tu­tion

AR­GUABLY THE MOST ac­claimed race­car driver to be born on In­dian soil, the tale of J Anand in­volves a pas­sion for au­to­mo­biles that sur­passes ev­ery­thing. Born in Coim­bat­ore into the Lak­shmi Mills fam­ily – of­ten re­ferred to as the first fam­ily of In­dian mo­tor­sport – with names like Kari­vard­han and Naren Kumar, Anand’s grav­i­tat­ing to mo­tor­sport was no sur­prise. Un­like the rest of the fam­ily that had grown to ac­cept mo­tor­sport, Anand’s grand­fa­ther was rigidly against it. His fa­ther, who shared his son’s pas­sion, had never been able to re­alise his mo­tor­sport dreams, but went on to be­come one of the fore­most names in au­to­mo­tive en­gi­neer­ing in the coun­try.

The uni­verse – which rarely pays heed to peo­ple’s ap­pre­hen­sions – had con­spired, and by the time Anand was in the 9th grade he was al­ready rac­ing a diesel-en­gined Fiat against the big­ger, bad­der petrol- en­gined Si­pani Dol­phins and Fi­ats, on a makeshift dirt track be­hind Kari­vard­han’s brother-in-law’s fac­tory. He may not have been able to keep up, but from there on, ev­ery­thing was his­tory.

It is of­ten said that the fastest driver is usu­ally the per­son who un­der­stands his car the best, and

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