Racing Ahead: A Woman In A Man's World
India's youngest female Formula 4 racer Sneha Sharma says make your passion your paycheck!
Seven years ago, a 16 year old girl from Mumbai tried out Kart racing, just for fun and fell in love with the sport. She tried explaining her passion to her parents, but their fear of the dangers associated with racing made them try and dissuade Sneha Sharma from taking up the sport.
But Sneha, now 23, has prevailed and today she is the fastest woman on the Formula 4 circuit in India.
Motor sports, and racing specifically, got a boost in the country after the Force India team was launched in 2007. The Buddh International Circuit was created to host its first Formula 1 race in 2011. Sneha, currently a Formula 4 racer is looking to get to the Formula 2 level.
Sneha, who is a pilot with Indigo Airlines says, "Racing is my main focus; it is my passion which I want to make my career" Her career as a pilot helps her work towards her dream of becoming a Formula 2 racer. With time, Sneha's parents have come to accept and support her ambition to be a full time racer. But Sneha still plays down the dangers of petrol burns and other hazards of her sport.
Sneha has pocketed the Drove D Polo Cup, Toyota Etios Motor Racing, Rotax Rookie Race, JK Tyres Four Stroke Championship among others, competing against men and defeating them.
When the opportunity came to take part in the Mercedes E63 AMG Race, Sneha nailed it, making her the fastest female racer in the country with a speed of 270kmph.
Despite the success Sneha says some men on the race track still say things like, "Go back and learn how to drive, you shouldn't be here, what are you doing here, you are wasting your time...because honestly most men don't like losing to women." And it doesn't stop at words. some fellow male drivers resort to T-boning her on the track. (T-boning, a common phrase on the racing circuit, refers to a competing driver hitting your car head on from behind) But these are minor irritants for Sneha and she deals with them by focusing only on her racing once her helmet is on. She strongly believes that she is going to make the tri-colour proud very soon.
Sneha advises young sports enthusiasts to follow their dreams, "If I can do it, so can you. One should always follow their passion and make their passion their pay cheque!"
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