In The Passenger Seat: Pavan Ravishankar, Singapore's Racing Star

Unnamed  1 (Photo: Pravan Ravishankar)

Pavan Ravishankar is one of Singapore's brightest young talents in motorsport, combining hard work and talent on his way to becoming a national karting champion and now races in Formula cars, all at the tender age of 21.

Pavan started karting at only 11 years of age and instantly knew it was meant for him. Fast forward a few years, he won his first title by becoming Singapore Rotax Open Champion and has finished on the podium in Asian Formula Renault and British Formula 3 as just a preview into his many accolades.

However, at the end of the day, Pavan credits his passion, drive, and wins to his parents as they have been nothing but supportive of his motorsports career, with his dad investing over $2 million on his racing career.

Let’s race through the tracks of Pavan’s early career in Singapore:

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(Photo: Pravan Ravishankar)

What ignited your passion for racing?

I grew a lot of interest in the sport watching Formula 1 (F1). When I was 10 years old, my dad brought me to the local karting track and I immediately caught the bug.

Who are you most grateful for in your Motorsport career?

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(Photo: Pravan Ravishankar)

Throughout my journey in motorsports thus far I have been fortunate to have been surrounded with great people who have impacted my life greatly. However, I am most grateful for my parents, they have supported me morally and financially throughout my journey. Without their support, nothing that I have achieved would have been possible.

Is there someone you look up to in the Motorsport scene?

I look-up most to Ayrton Senna. He is my role model for all the qualities you want to have in a driver.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement in your career so far?

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(Photo: Pravan Rivshankar)

I have to say my most memorable achievement so far would have to be the victory at Silverstone in the British F3 Championship 2018. This was my first achievement in Europe on a weekend where there wasn’t much expectation. It came to us in the form of a beautiful surprise.

How does it feel every time you cross the finish line?

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(Photo: Pravan Ravishankar)

Crossing the finish line after a good or bad race always leaves you with mixed emotions that you really can’t put into words. It takes time for you to process these great emotions and then express them post-race interviews and celebrations.

Your family has been very supportive of your career. How does that make you feel?

My family has been very supportive of my career and it’s been a huge source of my motivation to achieve my goals with the sport.

Have you ever raced against your dad?

Unfortunately, my father and I have never raced together. However, if we did I think it’s clear who would be winning.

What are some lessons you're learned from your Motorsport career?

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(Photo: Pravan Ravishankar)

My Motorsport career has thought me a lot of valuable lessons. It has refined my work ethic massively and I have the confidence that the skills I have acquired are transferable to any industry.

What are the biggest challenges you've faced pursuing Motorsports in Singapore?

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(Photo: Pravan Ravishankar)

I’d say the biggest challenge for me was having to move to Europe in order to take the next step in my career. It was tough starting all over again as the racing there was a huge culture shock to me and I missed home. Like all things, I eventually got used to living there and now I miss the UK.

How does it feel to have to stop racing for 2 years to serve National Service?

It’s tough to stop for 2 years. In any sport where there’s always a moving target, you have to continuously improve on your craft. The situation I am faced with is far from ideal. However, I will be using the National Service experience to build a better me and once the COVID restrictions subside, I will be planning some training programs to keep me sharp and ready for a strong comeback in 2022.

Do you get recognised in public?

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(Photo: Pravan Ravishankar)

I do not get recognised in public and I don’t really bring up the topic of motorsport off track unless someone else initiates it. Most of my friends only come to know that I race cars a few months after getting to know me, they usually Google search me and are very surprised with what they can find.

How does driving a formula car (open-wheeler) differ from driving a normal car?

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(Photo: Pavan Ravishankar)

Driving formula cars are very different from normal road cars. We have a lot more aerodynamic grip that comes in the form of downforce, therefore some of the cornering speeds that we can carry are unimaginable to a normal road car. Our cars are also very light with a high power to weight ratio and are very nimble through corners.

What is your dream car for your daily drive?

Leak Mercedes Amg Project One Grins For The Camera In Frankfurt 1 (Photo: Pavan Ravishankar)

With my increased interest in hypercars my dream car now would have to be the Mercedes-AMG Project One. I am a Mercedes fanatic!

What are you looking forward to in your career after NS?

I am looking forward to the comeback journey the most. It will be tough but it's these sorts of challenges that really excite me. I will have to quickly get back up to speed!

What is your goal, career wise?

My goal is to be the first Singaporean driver in F1 and drive in the Singapore Grand Prix (GP).

You've entered over 100 races. Any tips you could pass on to aspiring racers in Singapore?

Unnamed  4 (Photo: Pavan Ravishankar)

My biggest advice to any young aspiring driver is to stay true to the basics and fundamentals of driving and enjoy the process of learning. If you are an individual that is obsessed with improving marginally each day then I am very sure that you will go far in your Motorsport career.

What is a motto you live by?

In order to succeed, you must first love what you do! I am also a big believer in hard work as opposed to raw talent.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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