MOTORSPORT HEROES: J ANAND
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