In motorsport today, it is more and more common for drivers to be affiliated with a factory equipment driver development program. Not only do these programs provide the driver with a platform to showcase their talents, but they also help secure funding in a sport otherwise known to burn a huge hole in the pocket.
One of those drivers is Akhil Rabindra, an Indian GT driver and Aston Martin Racing Academy driver.
The 25-year-old from Bengaluru has been with the academy since 2019 and is the first Asian to be selected for the Aston Martin Racing Academy. These two seasons have turned out to be quite successful so far, with a solid 2nd place in the European GT4 Series race at Brands Hatch in 2019 and a top 10 overall in 2020. French season FFSA GT4.
Currently, the Indian driver is halfway through the 2021 European GT4 Series season, driving an Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 for AGS Events Racing, in partnership with Hugo Conde. We caught up with the only Indian GT4 driver entering his third year with the Aston Martin Racing Academy.
Q- How has the Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy experience been so far?
Akhil Rabindra– It has been great so far; I had the opportunity to learn a lot on and off the track. AMR has a great set of factory pilots, a simulator setup, and a gym. And I was able to do most in recent years.
Q- How has the academy influenced your growth as a racing driver?
AR- It definitely influenced my growth as a racing driver; I became faster, more consistent, and progressed in my fitness levels. There were aspects that I did not know about driving and fitness in GT, which I have been made aware of now.
Q- 2021 saw you return to the GT4 European Championship after a year Pause. A particular reasoning behind the passage of the French FFSA GT4?
AR- The European GT4 series is a great championship because it covers the best tracks in Europe, and this is something that I really wanted. On the other hand, the French championship only takes place in France and I wanted something more international.
Q- How has the competition evolved since your two-year stint in the GT4 European Championship?
AR- Competition has always been strong in the European GT4 series. It was likely the lowest in 2020 due to the pandemic, but 2021 saw the grid revert to around 40 cars. There are riders from all over Europe, they know all the tracks well, which makes the race strong.
Q- Although the start of the 2021 season has been a bit difficult, how would you rate it so far?
AR- The season has not started well, because it is a team sport and there is a co-driver, who make it a little more complicated. The end result is what the two riders do together, so they have to do their best to get the best results. We will surely push harder for the next round of laps.
Q- You also made a passage in single-seater with the return of the British Formula 3 BRDC in 2016. How does it feel to switch from Formula to GT car racing, and why shouldn’t it be? to be seen as something less glamorous?
AR- Single-seater racing is better understood around the world. GT racing has been around since a long time, but he’s definitely had more exposure in recent years. GT races are very interesting, with a teammate and the races being longer. So it really adds more variables in the races.
Q- Which of the two forms of motorsport will be your choice to race?
AR- I don’t care, as long as it has four wheels and a steering wheel!
Q- Are there any chances that we will see you moving to GT3 soon? And also, what do you think of Le Mans or the endurance races?
AR-That’s the goal for me, to switch to GT3 in the near future. As you know, budgets also increase with GT3, and that’s something we’re working on.
Q- What is your take on the current motorsport scene in India?
AR- Motorsport in India is booming. New championships are coming and there are more drivers – from karting to junior races – who are interested. India will certainly produce more racing stars in the future in all racing categories.
Many thanks to Eurosport for organizing this interview with the only Indian GT4 driver. Akhil Rabindra will return to racing when the fourth round of the 2021 European Series kicks off at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on July 28.