One of the very few rally car racing drivers in India, Garima Avtar’s journey in this intimidating sport is nothing short of splendid. Motorsport is not without challenges nor is a common career pursued by women. Avtar now goes back to when she started almost ten years ago and tells SheThePeople.TV, âI started very late in my life, when I was in my thirties. Motorsport is a pretty intimidating sport, but it’s about having the will and the urge to do anything in life at any age. I never planned or predicted it, but I think most of the fun things in life, especially the ones you cherish in your home, are the ones you come across accidentally and spontaneously.
Avtar started out by training because it is important to improve. She recalls that the Mahindra team had selected her for rallies in the time-speed-distance format. After winning a few laurels in this format, it entered the world of extreme rallies in 2013. âIt’s the real test of a driver’s courage and courage. It takes a lot of practice to harness your quick reflexes and speed. Extreme rallying brings new challenges and requires more nuanced training. Avtar, who learned to drive at age 14 in his hometown of Bareilly.
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Passion alongside business work
However, while simultaneously driving high-speed cars through baffling rally stages, Avtar worked at an electrical cable manufacturing company where her last role was as vice president before stepping down. She remembers how motorsport collided with her professional work around this time and says: âWhile I was working in a company motorsport was still an emerging passion and at the start of its navigation the calendar shopping was not very crowded so I was able to manage both. I quit my job about six months ago after working there for nine years. I find it better to focus fully on racing and diversify into related areas.
And now that she has more time to invest in motorsport, she doesn’t just run, but is interested in automotive journalism and also organizes rallies and expeditions. To anyone considering a career in rallying, she says: âTo make money out of it you can do a lot of other sport-related things. Basically, diversifying in order to be connected to motorsports for longer.
The circuit teaches
Asking what the circuit or the race has taught him, Avtar replies, âOne thing I have learned is resilience. Although physical strength is important in rallying, mental strength is more important. I remember that during one of the rounds of the Indian National Rally Championship which is a high speed rally, I was driving on a gravel track. In one of the slippery corners, my car skidded and tipped over. But that didn’t deter me. My navigator and I, with a little help and in just seven minutes, managed to get the car back on track, complete the rally stage and even get on the podium in our category. It is therefore a question of bouncing back without losing your calm.
She belongs to that niche of rally racers of all kinds in our country who has participated in almost all major national rally competitions including Indian National Rally Championship, Himalayan Raid, Desert Storm, Desert Storm, Mughal rally, monsoon challenge and many autocross and speed sprints.
Dakar rally is the rally of my dreams to participate in, but it takes a lot of preparation and planning and it can only happen if I am funded.
Rollover on the race track is normal
While this might be a legitimate possibility, Avtar doesn’t view it as a fear. âNowadays racing has become very safe due to all the safety equipment used and on top of that the racing rules are very strict. Unless the car has all the safety gear in place and meets all the safety standards set by the FIA, it won’t even pass the scrutiny. Everything down to your costume, interiors and helmet must also be approved by the FIA. Even after all of these things it is completely normal to tip over but most of the time you come out unscathed unless a major accident happens.
Now, Avtar’s biggest dream is to conquer the Dakar Rally. âThis is the rally of my dreams to participate in, but it takes a lot of preparation and planning and it can only happen if I am funded. If I get business financing, maybe I could make my dream come true and I am very confident that I have the skills required and that I can perform well on this circuit, âshe adds.
Photo credit: Garima Avtar