Kyle Kumaran’s racing dreams fuelled by two superhumans

Kyle Kumaran - TheGolfingHub
After his silver at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, Kyle Kumaran is a name India should watch out for on the racing circuit. Photo: SportSavour

A native of Thiruchirapalli, Kyle Kumaran always loved racing. At 18, he enjoys art, music, football and gaming with friends from all over the world. This diversity is a result of the multicultural nature of the UAE, where he resides.

It was his father, Kumaran Arumugam, who followed Formula One and that is how Kyle got attracted to the sport. On weekends, he started going to the karting track with his father, and at 14, Kyle raced for the first time at the Dubai Kartdrome. His team came second at the EKSC 2016-17. For Kyle, it was a leisure activity at first, “achieving as we go” as he likes to call it.

The Student Karting Championship (SKC) at Al Ain Raceway was his next step. He finished runner-up in the individual event. The 12 Hour Endurance Race at Al Ain Raceway came next where he drove for over 4 hours in 2 shifts and his team clinched that title as well. In January 2017, he began racing at the UAE Sodi World Series (SWS) races at the Dubai Kartdrome.

Kyle represented UAE in the Sodi World Finals at Lignano Circuit in Venice in June 2018, and his parents gifted him his first kart – the SodiKart which runs on a X30 Junior engine 270. In the 2017-18 season, he signed with the newly-formed Brand Racing (previously, SodiKart Middle East). The 2017-18 UAE X30 Challenge was his first full racing season and he ended as Vice Champion – Junior. Not one to shy away from hard work, he completed an internship with Porsche in 2019 to understand the intricacies of automobiles better.

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The talented racer believes to be successful it is important not to get distracted, and not think too far ahead. This mantra helped him during his fight against COVID-19 in January last when he had to miss three races of the championship. Rather than the quarantine, what derailed his life was the disruption it caused to his schedule just as things were returning to normal.

Once he recovered, he got back to his training regime of one-and-half hours every other day. He could feel he wasn’t 100%, physically and mentally. However, he did not give up, like his idol Ayrton Senna.

Always trying to improve himself, Kyle believes be it mentally, physically or diet-wise, his regime can be better. He promises that once this hectic racing schedule settles down, he will be training harder. His schedule has also kept him away from sports like football and volleyball. The karate black belt also used to be in a swimming team.

Asked about another sport he would have played had he not got into racing, the reply was, “Maybe, darts. I was quite good. Played the entire four months of quarantine.”

Rather than make changes in his preparation for different races, Kyle prefers to focus on the people who will be in his team for the race. He is a self-confessed, “person of habit”. So if a formula provides success, the 18-year old will continue with it till it ends in failure. That is when he will try to find something else that will pay better dividend. Fortunately for him, one formula that he has not had to alter is his support system.

Kyle mentions UAE team boss, Anjum Shaik, team boss in India, Madesh Lakshman, and his father. However, his “hugest” praise was reserved for mother, who also doubles up as his manager. Denys is arguably the biggest reason why Kyle has reached the heights he has today. From managing his jam-packed schedule, to handling relationship with racing teams, organising travel to various events, handling his social media, to managing the monetary side, all while juggling a full-time job on the side. This superhuman is the rock Kyle has always been able to depend on.

“It’s been a lot of sacrifice,” said Denys, “from his father and me”. But the reason the parents are fighting to make his racing dream a success is for the joy when he gets into a race car. They knew when he started at 14 that he was lagging behind other kids by around 5-6 years. They realised that they would have to get him as much race time as possible. Between his father’s work in Saudi Arabia and her job, the parents devoted every free second to ensure that.

It is now that their efforts are paying off with Kyle finally representing India at the World Championships. Prior to this, Kyle represented UAE. However he made his allegiance to India quite clear. “I am Indian at the end of the day, so representing India means more.” His goal is to become the first Indian world champion in Formula 1, Formula E, WEC or Indycar. After his silver at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, a beaming Kyle said, “Representing India has been a dream and I am thrilled to achieve it. Seeing the Indian flag on the podium is a proud moment and I will cherish it forever.”

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Content: SportSavour