2021 May 17
This 13-year old is unlike any other, breaking conventional norms as a young racer in the international karting arena. Yevan David recently made history as he won the 1st round of the “2021 Champions of the Future Karting Race” in Genk, Belgium. In conversation with Yevan about all things karting and dealing with the pressures of such tumultuous times, here is what the enthusiastic and passionate sportsman had to say.
What drove you to start karting at such a young age?
Well about eight years ago, my father took me to the karting track for the first time, and we tried go-karting. The word “racing” immediately clicked in my mind. So, I asked my dad if we could get my own go-kart so that I could start racing professionally. Since then I just kept practising every single weekend, and I enjoyed every second of it. It was that feeling of loving something so much, loving the sport so much. That’s what drove me into starting a career in racing.
You have already made it to the international platform. What do you hope to do next?
For the rest of the year, I am just going to keep racing and try to bring results in from the under 14 category. Then next year, I am going to move to the senior category, which is between 15 to 30 years old. I am going to try and do one year in that category, and then I will try to leave karting and move to Formula cars. From then on, it’s all about getting sponsors, moving up the ladder in Formula stages like Formula 3 and Formula 2 and eventually making it to Formula 1.
How often do you train?
I go for practices every week at a different track to test and prepare for the races. On my off days, I always physically train myself to maintain good shape and good fitness.
How do you balance Karting with school and your other activities?
It was a bit hard at the start because it was the first time that I tried balancing both. But now, whenever I have time, or a few days off to do my schoolwork, I try to get as much done as possible so that when I can’t do it, I know I’m already ahead.
What was your experience like winning the 1st round of the “2021 Champions of the Future Karting Race”? Did you expect the win?
It was a great feeling honestly, it felt surreal, and it felt phenomenal. It was great to finally get my first qualifying heat win in Europe and be the first Sri Lankan to do so. It was just an incredible feeling getting that achievement and especially representing Sri Lanka for it. When I was in the race with about a lap to go, I was just trying to overtake the person in front of me. I didn’t even realise it was for the lead. It was only once I got past and reached the finish line that I realised I was ahead of the rest. I just realised in that moment that I had won the race and done it for Sri Lanka.
Besides Karting, what are your other interests and hobbies?
Because the races are very regular at the moment there isn’t really much else I can do in terms of hobbies. But whenever I get some free time I like to play some badminton, sometimes even football. There is just a whole mix of things that I enjoy. Definitely, racing is the one thing I enjoy the most, so these side hobbies are only for fun. Most of them are sports since I am sort of the ‘sports guy’, but from time to time I like to play the guitar, do some gaming or maybe even draw.
What are some of the challenges you face when it comes to karting? How do you handle that?
Well, one of the biggest challenges in the past two years was the task of sending me to Europe, because we had to sacrifice a lot, and there was a lot of planning and preparation. Once the pandemic hit, it was a bit hard because we didn’t really know what to do in March 2020 – whether to fly to Europe and wait for the races to come or just hold off and wait in Singapore, where I live. So that was one of the biggest challenges we faced, but we found a solution.
In the beginning of last year, everything was fully shut and nothing was going on, so that was when I started doing online racing (simulations) just because I couldn’t do real-life racing. This year the races are actually quite regular. There is a race almost every one or two weeks and sometimes in a different country. For example, I’m in Italy right now, but this week’s race is in Belgium, and next week it’s in France. So, it’s very all-over-the-place and very regular. I still have to wear a mask and practise social distancing, but the racing is still better than ever.
How has your family supported you and helped you in your journey?
My dad has put in a lot of effort with me, and my family has always supported me throughout the years. At the moment, my family is back in Singapore. My siblings have school so my parents had to take care of them. I am actually here in Italy for the year with a guardian and a friend I know. I am travelling with him around Europe. So there is no family here with me right now, but they have always sent their love and support, making sure to congratulate me. Not only my parents and my siblings, but also my relatives and everyone back home in Singapore and Sri Lanka. I can feel the support around me, and it’s very nice to know that they are all devoted to what I do.
What advice would you give others like you who love karting?
For youngsters, my advice would definitely be to work hard and never give up. These past few years I’ve always made sacrifices and worked hard – and now here I am winning a race in Europe as the first Sri Lankan, and it is only my fifth race here. It just proves that hard work pays off.
You are still so young, is this something you want to pursue in the future as a career or is there something else that interests you as well?
For sure I have always wanted to race. Since I was eight years old I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I am still aiming for the same dream, the same job, and the same career. Racing all the way for sure.