Sitting in his air-conditioned Noida office, overlooking a very busy garage, Amanpreet Ahluwalia, 40, can be easily mistaken for a businessman with a 9 to 5 schedule. But being the country’s top rally driver makes Ahluwalia very much an outdoor person. Just last month, he was driving around the scenic countryside in Arunachal Pradesh at breakneck speed, an effort that got him a podium finish at the JK Tyre Arunachal Festival of Speed.
When not racing cars, he is beautifying them and later selling them for a neat profit. Ahluwalia started his car makeover venture, Auto Attitudes, in 2009. He sources cars from Army auctions and makes them road-fit. And for a select customers: rally -fit
At the Arunachal event, his 1300cc turbo-charged Maruti Gypsy was undoubtedly the best. He made his way through the tricky race routes with his navigator Ajay Kumar.
Ahluwalia is so passionate about the sport that he competed in a race even on his wedding day. But he admits such a passion comes at a cost. It’s an expensive sport where financial gains are modest. Drivers end up spending more than the competition prize money. “For me, it’s not about money anymore. I see it as passion and business. I go to races, people enquire about my car,” he said.
His rally cars are so popular that he ends up racing against his own machines at most races. “Even in Arunachal, a lot of drivers used our cars. There were some local drivers who made enquiries ,” said the current national autocross champion. So does he ensure his car remains a cut above? “Yes, of course,” he jokes.