When I’m here afraid of driving vehicles at this very age, meet Sneha Sharma who got her flying license and racing license even before she could drive a car on the road.
At 29, she is the fastest Indian in the F4 racing and is the captain with Indigo Airlines and recently, she had her first international at the Malaysia Speed Festival 2019, where she clocked the best time of 2:57.4 to classify for the Advanced category, an achievement in itself given the mix of top international racers.
Her routine is such that she juggles between driving race cars and flying planes. She flies 20 days a month and the rest of the days she is into racing.
In an exclusive interview with Penbugs, she reveals how she started young, broke the stereotype and many more.
Sneha Sharma who was born in Kolkatta, raised in Mumbai and currently stays in Chennai, reveals that she was just 14 when she fell in love with the racing. It was when she heard a Go-Kart happening in the town. She tried and instantly fell in love with the racing. The adrenaline rush was all new, and she wanted to feel the same throughout her life, thus racing.
No, it wasn’t easy for her. She had to do small errands on track to fund her racing and initially, her parents weren’t supporting the racing either. She even used to study between the racing sessions and did fulfil her responsibility. Her parents accepted her aim of becoming the pilot.
Coming from the middle-class background, the family had to take loans to afford her studies. Soon, Sneha became a Pilot in order to support her first love, the racing. Now, with the sponsorship from JK Tyres- who is especially good in promoting women motorsport- and Indigo Airlines-who is Sneha’s major sponsor-she is here.
Racing is physically demanding. You need to maintain the right physique to race right. Talking about her diet and workout, Sneha says that she works out for five hours on an off day, two and a half hours in the morning and two and a half hours in the evening. She works out with Ramji, a well-known strength and conditioning coach, who has worked with many franchises including Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. Yoga and meditation come in handy as well.
When asked about the most difficult track for racing, Sneha says that Wet track is super difficult as the rains will play the spoilsport. Of course, there are no wipers on the helmet to see the tracks properly. Imagine how dangerous it could be as injuries are bound to happen.
Sneha did fight a bad rib injury in 2017 which she picked up during the fitness session. She was out for almost a year, she neither raced nor flew in the interim but this only built her. She became mentally strong with the injury and returned to fly during the start of 2018, and she started racing only at the end of 2018. What really matters more is that this eleven months helped her to come back stronger as she grew from co-pilot to the captain and from a national racer to international racer.
“This is the proof when you hit down it is only to get back and get back up stronger. This (struggles) are temporary and not permanent. This is just to rearrange your life”
Talking about her family, Sneha shares with us that she rarely get time to be with her family, only a few hours in a month. It is also a hard time for the racer whose mother has passed away only recently. Though it is a difficult time for her, the passion for the sport and the support from the sponsors, the IndiGo airlines keeps her going. She hopes that things will get better with time. Hopefully, it does.
The Captain Doctor Sneha Sharma (Yes, she has a doctorate!) who at this very young age is already an inspiration to all of us, says that she wants to inspire more people to follow their dreams no matter what it is. Be it cooking or driving an aircraft anything.
Sneha Sharma aims to make it to the Formula 1 one day, and right now, she is happy that she made her international debut.
What an inspiration!
Image courtesy: Sneha Sharma, Twitter
Thanks to India Sports 2.0 for the interview!
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