Rahul Raj Mayer, who has been retired from an illustrious career in karting and single-seater racing, is strapping up his helmet again at this year’s GR Vios Challenge Season 6.
This will be his first full season of racing since 2015 when he last raced in the NEC Formula Renault Monza series. The 26-year-old will be competing in the Super Sporting Class for elite and professional drivers in this weekend’s GR Vios Challenge at Sepang International Circuit.
“To be honest there’s really not too great of a difference jumping from a single-seater into a saloon car as I have also driven several GT and GT3 cars. There are just two factors I am confronted with – the first is coming out of retirement after eight years and the second is never having raced a front wheel drive car,” said Rahul who is today the owner of two businesses after deciding to no longer chase his Formula car dream in 2015.
“Basically I just ran out of funding because pursuing a GP3 season would have cost in the region of RM5 million a season back then. Instead, I decided to go to university, I started working and here I am today.”
In 2007 at the age of 11, Rahul began karting and the following year finished 3rd in the Yamaha SL Cup (Junior) series. In 2009 he was 2nd in the Asian Karting Open Championship (Formula 125 Junior Open); and he finished 2nd for the Yamaha SL Cup (Senior) and 3rd for the Rotax Max Challenge Malaysia (Junior) series in 2010.
He went on to race in Japan in the Iame X30 Championship where he came in 8th and was 3rd and 2nd respectively in the 2012 All Stars Karting Invitational (KF2) and Rotax Invitational Race (Rotax Senior) series. That same year, he progressed into single seater racing, starting his career in the Formula Gulf 1000 (FG1000) Championship where after two wins, 10 podiums, a Pole Position and three fastest laps he ended the year 2nd in the Championship. He also spent two years competing in the UK’s BRDC Formula 4 Series.
“I have no clue how the comeback season is going to pan out. I could be on pace or off pace. Ideally the plan was to enter the Sporting Class but because of my racing licence and experience, I found myself being placed in the Super Sporting Class instead,” said Rahul who will be competing as a privateer under Mango Racing.
“Mango Racing is essentially 1 driver, 1 mechanic and my team manager. We are a small privately-funded team with a minimal budget and therefore one of the priorities will also be to preserve the car for the entire season. I’ve had one test session in the Vios Challenge car. It is a tough car to drive. It has its own unique characteristics and no matter how experienced of a driver you may be, the Vios Challenge car is one that comes with its own driving style and I’ll have to find the correct way it wants to be driven. It’s certainly going to be a steep learning curve for me once the season gets underway.”
Rahul said it was the close racing action that really attracted him to join the GR Vios Challenge.
“I like the fun, the fact that you’re racing on a shorter track and everyone is just more dicey. The level of aggression on the track and having everyone push all out for a 30-minute race is so reminiscent of my Formula car racing days.”
Managing two businesses and a racing, Rahul also said that both will continue to become a priority.
“I’m a bit pushy when it comes to both business and racing therefore I’m not expecting to pull back on one or the other. Every time the helmet comes on, you are somebody else and for me, the goal will be to succeed on both fronts.”
Entering its 6th season, the 2023 racing calendar will see 3 rounds or a total of 6 races of the GR Vios Challenge being held.
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