New kid David on goliath course for Olympian heights in motorsport | Sunday Observer

New kid David on goliath course for Olympian heights in motorsport

18 July, 2021
Yevan David racing during the FIA Academy Trophy round one in Germany
Yevan David racing during the FIA Academy Trophy round one in Germany

The thrill of racing cars for fun is a passion many of us have from childhood. Very few have the talent and opportunity to convert that into a dream of becoming a Formula One driver. It also requires tremendous sacrifices to stay focused, displaying discipline, dedication and determination to reach Olympian heights in motorsports.

Yevan David has shunned the pleasures of life anybody his age would normally love to indulge in to devote his energies to become a racing driver. Such is his commitment to his racing career that he took part in a European competition in Italy on his 14th birthday last Sunday.

“I am doing something I enjoy. I do it constantly for the whole year. That brings me joy. Everything that comes after is a bonus, like a podium or win or championship. But just driving in the kart and going fast, that’s where the fun is,” said David who has been flying Sri Lanka’s flag proudly on the international circuit for the past eight years.

Born in the United Kingdom to Sri Lankan parents, David has been living his dream of becoming a champion since the tender age of four.

“I just like the joy of driving a kart and going really fast. That’s what I enjoy and I wanted to continue that. Now it’s more of a passion than just going fast,” said David who was inspired by his father Yohan David.

“My father did a little bit of racing when he was younger. He took me to the track once. I knew I wanted to do karting as soon as I got into the kart,” he recalled his maiden experience at the Sri Lanka Karting Circuit in Bandaragama.

“Before karting, I had done sports like tennis, rugby, golf, everything. It didn’t really click in my mind. But then once I tried karting, that’s the one I chose,” added David who attended pre-school for one year in the UK before his family moved to Singapore.

“Right now I am in Italy for the year because it’s really hard to fly to Europe and Asia for the races. I will go back home in November,” he said adding “my grandparents, all my cousins are in Sri Lanka.”

The eldest in a family of four comprising twin brothers and a girl, David misses visiting Sri Lanka for the past two years, especially to savour the native food.

“Usually, we visit twice a year or even more. At least every single year because all my family is there. I get to spend time usually for the new year as well. But for the last two years, I haven’t been able to visit because of the Covid. I miss the home food as well,” said David.

“When I started for the first time ever, I didn’t really have any goals. Just drive my kart as best I can,” said David whose ambitions grew gradually thereafter to get a few podiums. “It’s getting closer and closer every race.”

He remembers his first ever podium in September 2015 at the Rotax Max Singapore Challenge. “I remember overtaking until I was in third. The chequered flag came out and I realised I got a podium,” he recalled.

His first win was in the 2017 IAME International Final - X30 Mini. In addition he bagged four other wins that year and his biggest achievement so far has been winning a qualifying heat in Belgium two months ago.

“That was level with the championship win in 2017. Not only did I win the qualifying heat for me, but for Sri Lanka as well. No one’s ever done that. It’s an even better feeling,” said David who was placed 15th overall out of 92 participants.

He began racing with G51 Motorsports team from 2016-19 and their junior team G51 Stratos for a couple of years before being advised by his manager to join British team Forza Racing since he had ambitions of racing in Europe.

“There is a lot of racing happening in Europe. Every week or two I have a race. Now it is quite compact but after the next three weeks it will be spread out because races will be every fortnight,” said David who came fourth in the first round of the FIA Academy Trophy in Germany last month.


His ultimate objective is to get a top three position in this three-race series. The second round is next month in Italy and round three in September in Sweden. The event is a one-driver, one kart, one engine series where racers represent their country. “I think I can finish in the top three or possibly win that championship,” he said confidently while his next target is to progress to Formula 4 in 2023.

Attracting sponsors with good results is also foremost on David’s mind as he eyes Formula 4C with his biggest target obviously Formula One.

“My biggest goal is to make it to Formula One for sure and represent Sri Lanka hopefully in another 10 years,” declared David whose role models are F1 stars Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

“They are top in Formula One right now. Their mentality really inspires me,” said David whose father has also been his mentor throughout his career. “There have been a lot of coaches but the person who has always been there the whole way was my father.”

The senior David also dreams of his son flying the flag for Sri Lanka and the budding racer contends he knows the challenges of racing in Europe which is no place for amateurs. “I am very proud of the effort and commitment he is putting to the sport and the country and can’t wait to see him flying the flag for Sri Lanka on the top step,” said father Yohan David.

And the junior David knows no fear in some day granting his dad’s wish. “Only one from Sri Lanka is competing in Europe. It’s quite a high standard of competition, not what I am used to. It’s not scary or anything. I know I can be competitive,” said David who knows no fear when he sits behind the wheel.

“I have no fear at all. Usually when I am sitting in the kart, I never really think about crashing or anything like that. Focus is on getting a position and making up as many places as I can. Everyone in my category has the same amount of horsepower. If you have an engine that goes faster, then you will be disqualified.

David has not been in any bone-breaking crashes where karts can go up to maximum speeds of 130kmph and trains at home regularly to keep his body fit and conditioned for racing.

“I am 47kgs. The perfect weight and just maintaining it,” he said. “I do gaming or sim (simulator) racing. I go for just calm things in general. I don’t do other sports. Obviously, I like all sports. They are all fun to me but racing is number one,” he said.

“I think for me, my life is dedicated to racing, there is nothing else on my mind and it’s racing all the way, whether as a commentator, driver, GT driver, or team manager, I will always be with racing.”