Kumar Ram Narain Karthikeyan - The First Formula One Motor Racing Driver From India

Kumar Ram Narain Karthikeyan was born on 14th January 1977 in Chennai. He did his schooling at Stanes Anglo Higher Secondary School in Coimbatore.  His interest in motor sports began at a very early age. His father was a former Indian National Rally Champion, winning the South India Rally seven times. In his very first race, Narain Karthikeyan finished on the podium at Sriperumpudur in a Formula Maruti. Then, he went to the Elf Winfield Racing School in France.

Narain Karthikeyan began motor racing way back in 1994 when he took part in the Formula Ford Zetec.  In the same year, he became the first Indian to win the British Formula Ford Winter Series and went on to achieve a top three classification in the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.

Narain Karthikeyan won the Formula Asia Championship title in 1996 and became the first Indian to win an international series. In 1999, he participated in the Formula Three Championship Class where he drove in the Autosport British Formula Three Championship. He achieved five podium finishes and an additional two pole positions. He also managed three fastest laps and two lap records. He finished sixth in the Championship against a total of thirty drivers from over five countries. He also qualified sixth in the Macau Grand Prix finishing in the second leg.

Narain Karthikeyan participated in the British Formula Three Championship again in 2000 and finished in fourth place. His biggest achievement in this year was winning the International Formula Three Race at Spa, Belgium. His name was being ranked in 2000 among some big shots like Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard and Ayrton Senna. Narain Karthikeyan considers Ayrton Senna as his idol.

In 2001, he got a test drive opportunity with Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda EJ11. His impressive performance led him to another test drive contract at Silverstone. In 2002, he set a fastest time record in the Interlagos circuit. He claimed a pole position in the Telefonica World Series. In 2003, he entered the Super Fund World Series and finished fourth against some of the best drivers in the world. He was then offered a test drive contract by Formula One Team Minardi.

Narain Karthikeyan is the first Formula One Motor racing driver from India. He has so far competed in Formula One, A1 Grand Prix and the Le Mans Series. He made his Formula One debut in 2005 with the Jordan Team. This year, he is all set to make a Formula One comeback after a gap of almost six years. He was also a Williams F1 test driver in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, he joined A1 Team India and raced in five weekend races. In the first race with the Team, he got the first points at Taupo, New Zealand. The team finished in fourth place in the A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsports which has been their best so far. Like many other earlier F1 drivers, Narain Karthikeyan moved on to stock car racing and has driven the #60 Safe Auto Insurance Company Toyota Tundra for Wyler Racing in the 2010 NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) Camping World Truck Series.

In January 2011, Narain Karthikeyan announced that he has signed up to drive for the Hispania Racing Team in the Formula One Season this year. He suffered a bad mishap during the Spanish Grand prix earlier this year in the month of May when he suffered second degree burns and a prolapsed disc. It has been a testing time for him since then. But he is back in action now and is fully recovered after some fierce training sessions. Narain Karthikeyan lives in Coimbatore. He picked up the most popular driver award at NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Banquet in November 2010. He was also honoured with the Padma Shri Award last year.

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Tahseen Nakavi Juror

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Narain Karthikeyan , Motor Racing Sports


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