My Story: I Like To Call Myself Product Designer On Weekdays And Racing Driver On Weekends

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My Story: 'I Like To Call Myself Product Designer On Weekdays And Racing Driver On Weekends'

Despite having a fruitful career in motorcar racing, Lee Keshav took the road of entrepreneurship in 2015. The 29-year-old is now excited to make a comeback in the Indian racing world this year.

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While growing up, I saw Formula-1 on TV and I was extremely mesmerised by it. I was thrilled with movement from a very young age, riding bicycles or even going in a car excited me. Formula-1 was a calling for me since I was a kid and that is how I got started discovering my passion. I enrolled myself in some classes and got trained.

Participated In Various Events And Competitions

After some rigorous training, I thought of getting into the Indian championship. My first professional experience was Volkswagen Motorsport Polo Cup. This was a great platform for me to get started and get some professional exposure. This was the place wherein I got to hone my skills, and learn from experienced racers. In my first year itself, I played against a few experienced people and in the second year, I started winning races.

After this, I moved towards the Indian National Championship in Formula Ford 1600. It is the fastest racing car we have in India, in the first year itself, I was on the podium and came third in the championship. This was a great sign for me that I could drive Formula-1 effectively. Later, I made my International debut in the MRF Challenge Championship. This was a much faster car and a much more competitive championship on international racetracks where I had never driven. It gave me an opportunity to drive along with some really seasoned drivers, a few of them are in Formula-1 right now. It was one of the best exposures I got and completely changed my perception of the sport. I fell in love with my passion even more.

I am a self-taught person and I learned most parts of racing by myself by watching TV and playing simulation games. That is how I trained myself because I never had the budget to go and practice.

Mentorship is so important in your career in terms of growing as a professional. In my racing career, I faced a lot of challenges because I had no mentorship and whatever I did was only because of the natural talent I had. Right now, I am progressing and have the right people around me.

Racing is not just about driving the car really fast but also how good you are at raising sponsorship. How are you to all these brands? Are you attractive to them? Social media now has opened a lot of new doors and the opportunities are much bigger than they were before.

I left racing in between because I had to make a decision between my entrepreneurship career and motorsports. While one helped me make money, another was making my pockets empty. If one has to pursue racing or any other sports, it is important to dedicate your full time to it. One has to be in it to win it. But I was split into two passions, and I had to make a decision. I would have pursued racing if I had millions of dollars in my bank, but being a self-made person, I had to make my own path in life. So for me, it was choosing my product design career and my long-term aim was to achieve a lot of success here and then go back to racing. Now I feel is the right time to get back to racing.

Striking Balance Between Work And Racing

Focus is very important and that's one of the reasons why I dedicated myself to my work. Once you overcome all these challenges, you are able to just manage your time and your energy better. To strike a balance, the best thing about my work is that it allows me to be in different places (remote working). I don't have to be physically in the office every day and that's also a new thing now since the pandemic. I easily rotate between racing and my job. They capture a different part of your mind, so it doesn't drag you down. I like to call myself a product designer on the weekdays and a racing driver on the weekends.

I am really excited about the things that are coming, and of course, I want to keep going with the business as the design head. My aspirations are to be more involved in product strategy learning a lot of business things. I'm learning how to build a team and manage a team. I am really enjoying this journey and I'm going to continue being in start-ups. Exploring these exciting things as well as racing is what I am passionate about. I think I'm ready for a comeback. I am in touch with a few race organisers, and I am actually going to be attending some events as well as potential sponsors. My goal is by the second half of this year, I should be back in a race car championship.

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