Jehan Daruvala’s resolve to race the clock on various European karting tracks has led him to beat the progression schedule drawn up for him by his mentors at the Sahara Force India Academy.
Just three years after the Mumbai boy joined the institution and moved to England, the 16-year-old is leaving behind the karting level (the early stages in motorsport) and moving to the heavier and more powerful car-racing. This comes after the teenager, seen as the next big thing in Indian motorsport, notched up a second place in the German National Championships, just two weeks after he finished third in the World Karting Championships recently.
The decision was made before his first season in the senior division ended. His rapid progress in the karting field, which also includes a win in the British karting championships, has opened up the path for a switch in vehicles. Subsequently, Formula Renault is the calling for the next season.
Upon shifting to the Haileybury boarding school in Hertford, the former Bombay Scottish student was given a three-year period to gain experience in the junior karting range. Consistent podium finishes and a victorious campaign in the England-based event found him into the senior division within two years.
Moving to the tougher senior karting division had a sole purpose for him to gain as much experience as possible. A two-year programme was deemed sufficient to attain the required exposure before being considered for a shift upwards. The teenager, in the meantime, managed to get all he needed within a single season, including the third-place finish in the World Karting Championship and the recent runner-up spot in the German Championship. “The original plan was to get a top-10 finish in the world for the first year. But I exceeded all expectations, so both the academy and I decided to step up to the next level,” he says.
The sojourns across Europe were made possible after a shift in base to England. Daruvala spent much of his youth travelling on weekends for a training session at the Kohlapur karting race-track – a five-hour drive away from his home in Dadar. His enthusiasm and determination to learn racecraft found him qualify for Sahara Force India’s “One from a Billion Hunt”, which gave him the chance to move to England and learn from the SFI Academy.
As of now, Daruvala will travel to Italy to compete in the last event of the season. After that, he will be testing with various teams before singling out a suitable group with which to make his debut in a race car. He’s still two years shy of getting a driver’s licence from the Tardeo RTO, but Jehan Daruvala is logging all the right miles to take a shot at F1 in the future.