“So you think you drive "Fast", Come "Race" with me on track” - says Mira Erda as she speaks on her journey towards being the first successful female racer

Known As

Mira Erda

Mother's Name

Winner of National Rookie Championship Formula 4 - 2016 Most outstanding woman in motor sport FMSCI Winner of Go-kart national championship Won “All Stars Karting 2012” Invitational Yamaha SL International at 5th Position and achieved the first International Trophy Won both rounds of “MMS-JK Tyre Rotex Rookie Cup 2011” Stood 5 at National level in Micro Max category of “JK Tyre National Rotax Max Championship 2011

Father's Name

Racing, Sports

Birthday

24 th Oct

Place from

Lewis Hamilton, Kirit Erda (Father)

Proudly says ‘imd1’ for

Vadodara, Gujarat

Racing, speed, cars, bikes - everything furious and fast are often synonyms to the interests of boys, right? Let us change this perspective as we read about Mira Erda’s story of breaking the stereotype by being India’s first female racer.

The 17-year-old from the city of Vadodara, Mira was fond of speed and cars since her early childhood. Team imd1 truly believes that she has set a benchmark of professionalism regarding motorsports, not just for girls but, the entire young generation.

Read ahead to know everything about her story.

We are really keen to know, how did your journey begin?

In 2009, my when father opened the go-karting track in Vadodara. I was 8 years of age then, and the love for speed and cars came to me automatically. When I started driving there, my father asked me if I wanted to take motor sports seriously and professionally. Without any second thoughts, I told him, "let"s do it." A few days later, he took me to see professional racers in action. I was exposed to the sight of a few accidents but, it didn"t affect me. My father probably took me there to know my reaction towards this side of the coin. What caught my notice was that there wasn"t a single girl there. That was in turn, the moment I decided that I want to get into racing and prove that girls too have the power to be on the tracks. Later, I received a two-day professional training in Kolhapur along with four days of practice and I new that was the onset of my professional racing journey.

Beyond Car Racing

Inspirations

Lewis Hamilton, Kirit Erda (Father)

Food I love

Any Mexican and Italian dishes

Food I hate

Nothing at all!

Had I not been Racer then…

Difficult for me to say as I started racing for early age and have never thought beyond racing! But still if I must answer this, then sportsperson for sure and most probably football player

Like Vacations at

Europe especially Paris, France and Bali, Indonesia

Favorite Past time

Reading books, mostly Novel and motivational books

Favorite Dialogue

Not movie buff at all

“So you think you drive "Fast", Come "Race" with me on track” - says Mira Erda as she speaks on her journey towards being the first successful female racer

What’s your success mantra?

Focus and attention are two things that I swear by. I know I have to give all my attention to my sport and give my best to it. Being out of my comfort zone and trying to get the best out of me, is what I constantly push myself for.

What were the hardships / hurdles you encountered and the way you overcame in your journey?

At initial stages, it was really stern. Being a girl who was breaking the stereotype, not many people were there to encourage me on my pursuits of motor racing. There were many competitors who did not stand the idea of racing with females and henceforth, tried to demotivate me, push me off the track or even scare me while the race was going on. But, I knew I had to deal with all of this and remain focused towards my goal and how I could improve my performance. But, ever since I started proving myself, all this became a thing of the past. Everyone started seeing me as a "racer" and not a "female racer." We all compete together without any biases. I guess, I was successful in breaking the stereotype!

Success is incomplete without its share of failures. How should one overcome them to move on?

All you need to do is stay focused. Failures are just a part of the way and they only make us stronger. Don"t get demotivated and keep pushing yourself towards your targets and one day success will be yours.

Do you think racing and its learning can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?

Motorsport are more or less about road safety. And in India, a majority of people are not used to it. A large number of the young population can be spotted on the streets showing off the way they can ride their bikes fast. It is dangerous not just for them but also the others as well. I would just not support the idea of racing on streets. Any who likes to race as a hobby, should enroll with racing tracks and arenas. This will not just fulfill their desire but also make them understand about the power and controls of the car on the race track.

Needless to say, motorsports are something that bring a lot of excitement in life and make one stronger mentally. It helps in focusing as a little mistake in racing can be very costly. The racing cars are very powerful and hence, one needs to be physically fit to ride them. So, yeah, motorsports help a person in building up all aspects of mental and physical fitness even if he/she does not wish to pursue it as a career.

Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?

Undoubtedly, my ‘dad’ is my biggest. He made me drive, helped my in all my struggles and made fight for what I stand for. Other than him, my Malaysian mechanic, Richard, who is like a brother to me, has constantly supported me in my entire journey. He keeps pushing me and motivating me all the time. His constructive criticism about the smallest of things that matter while driving, develop me in my sport. The best part is, he keeps taking notes and then, explains me everything later. He is like a support system who makes me stronger mentally by making me believe that "I can do it." He never fails to inspire me. He is actually the one who makes me feel ‘I Am The 1.’

Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I am the 1”?

During a race in 2012, I was disqualified and so I had to start the race from the last position. After the first lap, I was on the third position and gradually after a few more laps, I was leading the race. That was the exact moment I felt, that "I am the 1." I realize, it didn"t matter from whichever position I start from or with whomever I compete, I knew I could do it.

Did you get any formal training and where?

Professionally, I got my first training at the Racing Academy in Kolhapur. My guru was Mr. Sachin Mandori. That was the first time I got the chance to drive professional racing cars.

What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. right age, mindset, Physical Fitness or any other?

The foremost thing is to prepare yourself mentally. It is important to make up your mind about learning to drive a sport cars. Then, you have to learn how to drive, how to take turns, how to follow lines and all the basics. You have to begin initially with normal go-kart and from there on, you can go forward to learning a professional go-kart. Racing comes in the picture later. You can"t drive before getting a license. So, the age of 9 is appropriate for go-karting as that"s when you are eligible for getting a license too. But, for formula racing, the minimum age is 16 years.

Technology and scientific training has been changing the way people get trained in Racing. What’s your take?

Of course, technology and scientific training play a huge role in motorsports too. For instance, the availability of high-end professional cars for continuous practices is very limited. Although nothing can replace the actual experience of driving cars but, still we use virtual simulators for continuous practices. The modern-day simulators are highly advanced and prove quite helpful as the experience is parallel to that of a real car especially during, cutting curves or going off track.

What according to you, can be the scope for improvement in training for Racing in India?

Motorsports are still developing in India. Facilities that we have are still at very nascent stage. We have a few tracks in south and one in north. There"s hardly anything in other parts of the country. People have to travel all the way till Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Bengaluru for training. But, gradually people are getting interested in motorsports. Companies are interested in investing in motorsports. Last year, two new tracks were installed. The progress us slow but, there are signs of development. Let’s hope that we have more training facilities in India after a point of time. The more the facilities for training, the better is the scope for improvement in training.

What do you suggest for better accessibility of Racing in remote parts of India?

We have lots of talent in the remote parts of the country. But, because of the lack of tracks and training facilities, we are not able to see those talented racers at higher levels. Also, there are many people who are not even aware about the motorsports. Spreading the knowledge about motorsports and conducting more and more events related to them motor sports is required to make them accessible.

Your piece of advice to parents and new generation especially when some people are skeptical about career in extra curriculum.

With due respect to few parents, I would say, India is the country where people just don’t believe in letting people and specially children live their lives the way they like! It is entirely the fault of the mindset of the people who live society with their old school thoughts. I have seen so many people who take up normal jobs, despite of being talented in sports, because they want to appear ideal in front of the society and fulfilling what the society expects them to do. This makes them unhappy but, still they continue to live what they themselves call boring lives. This is the very reason the youth is not motivated to do something different. Children have their own peace of mind. Parents should not impose their opinions on them but, instead let them pursue what they actually want to pursue. It is a humble request to all the parents to let their children their lives and allow them to walk towards their own goals. It is not necessary for children to have the same dream as their parents. Many children want to do something different, but just because of their parent"s impositions they are unable to stand for their own interests and talents.

But, it"s not a dead end. There are many children and especially girls who are coming out and taking the stand for themselves. Breaking all the stereotypes, fighting all the odds and doing exceptionally good in their sport. We are seeing many girls leading in various areas. It"s high time that the society changes its mindset and start seeing the youth in a better way to support them in doing what they actually want to do and make India a better country to live.

One thing which you feel you want to change from the past while you walk down memory lane…

Not really! It is not like I have not committed mistakes in past, in fact I have done blunders. But they make me stronger person now. I am more confident about myself now. So, I don’t think I want to change anything from past. I am constantly improving and my mistakes help me to improve even more. I keep myself motivated and keep working harder and harder. I am certain that one day I will surely get the kind of success I really want. So there is nothing which I want to change from my past.

Any other thoughts you want to share?

I think, many people perceive motorsports as something only the rich people can afford. That’s not true at all. Motorsports can be picked up by anyone. Like guys who race or show off on the roads can actually come to motorsports and train themselves professionally for actual races. Not just the guys, I have seen many female car drives and bike riders too. If they are passionate about driving, they can actually take up motorsports and do wonders. Motorsport is all about road safety. Anyone can train themselves in them and learn a lot. It is always fascinating to get on the tracks and race once you are trained professionally.