Today we are presenting the racer from Kolhapur,Maharashtra : Dhruv Monika Shivaji Mohite.He is a factory team driver for Volkswagen Motorsport.He started his career with karting and won many championships.He is also an offroader and biker.We are astonished by his honest and modest nature.Now this interview is in his own words.
“Motorsport or the inclination towards automobiles is something that runs in our family blood since 3 generations. My grandfather had a keen interest in machines and the technology behind them. My father used to race in various Motorcross events in and around Maharashtra at that time but due to limitations to the sport at that time his career was short.
I grew up in a similar environment where being around cars, bikes and talking about them was a daily topic. My father taught me how to ride a beginners bike when I was 3 and a half and I learnt how to ride a bicycle at 4. Riding the bike and the ATV become a daily activity between study breaks while I was 6 y/o. I started riding at a nearby ground and gathering some attention for the obvious reasons. Even then I used to wear a rib guard, helmet and pads but a 6y/o on a bike is something people can’t digest easily. It was not long until a friend of dad’s called him informing about how I had been trying out small little stunts which as per him weren’t safe. Unlike other father mine was proud of me and wasted no time in making up his mind about what and how I should pursue racing. The closest karting track from Kolhapur that time was in Bangalore which was also a fun track. Instantly came the thought of building a top of the line facility here in Kolhapur to promote the sport and take it to the next level. Chittesh Mandody and Parth Ghorpade were already rising stars until then and soon we had Mohite’s Racing Academy and Circuit 09 open doors in 2006 to the first ever National Championship round in Kolhapur which also happen to be my first ever practice race.
2007 was my first ever official entry in the championship as a cadet driver, I managed to finish First Runner-Up in that year and went on to win my first ever National Championship in the Micro-Max Category in 2008. By then my routine had started revolving around racing, 3 hours of practice 4 out of 5 weekdays and on weekends we would do 100+ laps each. 2008 was also my first experience with international drivers as we hosted the Asia Max Championship in India. Early 2009 we did our first ever test weekend in Malaysia and decided to race internationally.
2010-2012 is what I term as my phase of making mistakes and learning from them. I participated in various championships as the Yamaha SL CUP, Yamaha SL World Finals, KF3 World Finals, Endurance Races, we did our first ever test weekend with the CRG Factory Team in Italy for 6 days and so on.
2013 at the age of 15 I shifted to single seaters for the first time, I managed to get a seat in the Jktyre Formula BMW (FB-02) under their driver development program. I drove in the BMW championship and parallel did international karting upto 2016. This was the year when I personally felt I had reach my limits as to what more can I learn and do in the sport. With a confused mind as to what discipline of racing should I continue in I started taking suggestions from people.
January 2017 I enrolled myself for the Volkswagen Ameo-Cup season. I instantly started working in that direction and had all the assistance I needed from other drives like Karmindar Singh, Ishaan Doodhiwala, Anindith Reddy and mentors like Sirish Vissa and Rayomand Banajee. It was a bitter sweet start of the season for me as in my first official practice I managed to total the car altogether in an incident where I managed to Roll over and the following Sunday I grabbed my first ever podium in Saloon Car Racing. I ended the season finishing 2nd Runner-Up in the championship and had a clear plan for 2018.
2018 was a very strong year, with races that went as per plan and a few that didn’t we still managed to win the 2018 Ameo-Cup Championship, equalling the all time record of 5 out of 10 wins in a Volkswagen season and breaking a few lap records.
2019 I was lucky enough to be one of the three drivers in the first ever factory team in India with Volkswagen Motorsport in the Indian National Touring Car Championship (ITC). The focus of the season was to learn as much as possible and mid-way into the season the aim was to finish top 3. With our fair share of luck and unluck and a mind blowing effort by the dream team I become the First Maharashtrian and the Youngest Indian to win the ITC. Volkswagen Motorsport become the first Factory Team in India to win the team championship in their first year.
Motorsport is something I’m passionate about, competitive racing is one part of it. Off-roading, dirt biking, driver development, promoting college formula and karting teams and so on are a few things I take keen interest in.”
What were your highs and lows in the racing?
- Winning and losing is a part of the sport, but reaching a point where you don’t know whats next for you in terms of your racing career was my biggest low. End of the 2016 season I had no clarity as to what I would be driving and where but my love for the sport made me realise if you are committed towards improvement there is so dead end. I think my biggest High as been fighting it out, 3 years after 2016 which I thought was my time to take a break I’m here today with 2 back to back National Championships and another top 3 finish.
Who are your role models?
- I have been very fortunate to have a lot of people assist me and guide me along the way Sachin Mandody, Chittesh Mandody, Aaron Lim, Karmindar Singh, Ishaan Dodhiwala, Rayomand Banajee, Sirish Vissa and my family. Its difficult to single out any one name but in terms of racing I think Aryton Senna tops it all for me.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
- “Always remember why you got into this sport in the first place, it’s because you love it. Winning or losing is only a part of it. Go out there and have fun”
What would you tell other drivers who want to reach the top level of Motorsports?
- Start young and work on your basics, a few days on the karting track are more important that doing random race weekends. Practice and training is 80% of the battle won. Be consistent, have your goals set and then just work towards it. Don’t lose interest in them very easily, its more important to become a complete and versatile driver than collecting medals.
What were the advantages you had of your own personal track?
- I cannot help but agree that we in Kolhapur were truly blessed to have a facility at our disposal. To give you an idea I did 2 hours or 30 laps of training 4 days a week and then 100+ laps on the weekends, every week for the first 8 years of my racing career. I feel there are two side of the coin to this, there is on part where having a racing academy and track at your disposal in a big plus point but on the other hand it’s also about how you make the best out of it.
What is your strength and weakness?
- My strength in recent times has been looking at the bigger picture and not risking your positions on track for shorter gains. My weaknesses have never been constant I have always made sure as a sportsperson you make a mistake but never make the same one again, it’s all about learning and growing.
Of all your races which race were you the happiest? The most disappointed?
- My parents and their support is the biggest reason why I have been able to achieve what I have in the past few years, so every time I have managed to put a smile on their face or make them proud has been my happiest moment. Disappointments are and should be temporary in sports, if you make a mistake you know exactly that is what you need to fix and if it was just not your day then there is no reason for you to be disappointed in the first place. Over time I feel it’s always been about what your approach is and how you decide to let a particular thing effect you. What is important is even if it does you should be up the next morning giving your 200% turning the odds in your favour.