Today our star of karting and formula racing is Chittesh Mandody from Kolhapur. He has won countless championships. Seeing the number of his wins will leave you speechless. We have been honoured to be able to take his interview. Here is what he has to say :
“So going back to where and when did my Racing career started, would like to share my short story. We owned an Automobile Garage and this Garage was one of the oldest and the first Garage in our city Kolhapur. As my childhood was spent around all fancy cars I built in lot of interest in cars and I still remember I loved sitting in the driver seat. I was eagerly waiting when would I start driving cars so one fine day when I was just 7years old dad took me to a Go kart track. Wow, I still remember that day was one of the best feeling. Even after going back home I kept requesting my dad to take me back to the track. So the next day when we went the track owner Ashutosh Kale asked me to join his basic karting training program. Looking at my performance he suggested me to participate in National 4stroke karting events.
In my first National karting event I didn’t even make it to top 10. I was really disappointed I made sure I didn’t miss even a single day to the track correcting my mistakes and Yes, Practice does make man perfect. Round 2 I finished first and this win gave me the confidence to continue. Throughout my racing career I had many ups and downs but training under Akbar Ebrahim I learnt how to be a good driver by focusing on my weaknesses every time I lost and practicing more even after wining a race. Luckily when I was in cadet I always looked up to good drivers like Ameya Walavalkar, Aditya Patel, Arman Ebrahim, Rayomand Banajee and they always guided me on the right path which improved my driving a lot.
In 2007 I took a big step by investing a lot buying a new Rotax juniormax kart. Many of them told my dad that he was wasting money where as I was already aiming to win throughout the championship being so tough. We five drivers were equal points till the final round per finals and by Gods Grace I was able to win the finals and being crowned as 2007 JKTYRE Rotax juniormax champion. I represented India in Alin for the the Rotax world finals. In 2008 I also won the MRF juniormax championship. Due to lack of financial support I didn’t have a plan for future in racing. But I cannot thank enough to JKTYRE for being my pillar in supporting me. In 2011 I was crowned as the JKTYRE Rotax seniormax champion. Moving on to single seaters and driving the most competitive series formula LGB I finished 3rd in the championship it was my debut year with team Meco Racing. In 2013 i drove the Formula BMW and being my first time in a proper formula car I could manage a hattrick win at Budh International circuit which helped me finish third in the championship.
In 2017 I got a call from Fazal khan former racer and the team owner for Avalanche Racing and the conversation was simple he wanted a wining driver for his team in which he trusted me and I was all set to prove the boss. Good bonding with the team and 100% focus by the team and me helped us win the drivers championship in formula F4. 2019 the most awaited X1 league was launched and I was representing Team DG Races Gujarat which turned out to be a good event but due to few failures we couldn’t make it to top three. I was also a part of wining team in the JKTYRE 24hr karting endurance where I drove nearly about 8hrs in total. I also participated in events like 24hour challenge with Overdrive presented by Hyundai , 24hour challenge with Overdrive presented by Audi, 24hour challenge with Overdrive presented by Mercedes and Tata Geared for great challenge completing 50k km in 18days.
In this journey I really want to thank my dad for giving me the best technical support and also training me to be a Competitive Driver. Specially when he taught me how to trail brake. I would also like to thank my major sponsors Mohite’s Racing Academy, MMS Meco Racing, JKTYRE Motorsports, Avalanche Racing coming all the way here was impossible without their help and Guidance. Currently, I own a Car detailing business in Kolhapur and also looking after Circuit77, ChampionsTurf Pune. I do take basic karting training program, advance karting training program and single seater training program. Thank you!”
In europe its common to have dad and son as a team.Do you think you had advantage of it?
Big yes, dad being my technical support and training to a higher level of karting gave me a huge advantage. It was a task for him to manage work as well as travel with me for various events. Our bonding gave some good results.
Who inspired you to start karting ?
So I had been to my friend’s house for dinner and he had recently won a karting club event. I was so fascinated looking at the trophy. So I went and tried out Go karts looking at my Driving Ashutosh kale inspired me to join Karting.
Who is your favourite F1 driver and why?
Kimi Raikkonen aka Iceman, because I really like his attitude on track he is always so focused. He prefers to talk less and drive more. Win or lose I’ve always seen him quiet, relaxed and focused.
How you do to keep yourself healthy and fit?
For fitness I use to do more of jogging, cycling and cross fit exercise. I really never liked weight training.
Is an experience in karting required for Formula racing?
Karting being the base for any form of motorsports. Karting helps you get your basics perfect. If your basics good you eventually become a good driver. Consistency, Racing lines, aggression. These three points which I learnt from karting helped me lot in Formula Racing.
What are you preparing for next?Future goal?
Future Goal- Win each and every race I drive. For now I’ll be doing the JKTYRE Formula 4. Last year had many ups and downs so this year I’ll give my 100%. Otherwise waiting for the right opportunity so that I can prove myself.
You are running a track in pune.
Do you have any plans to start your own team?
For now we are focusing on getting in more drivers from Maharashtra and train them. Having a own team would be really a great idea but first we would like to set a good base in Pune.