Malaysian mechanic has dream come true

DREAM COMES TRUE FOR MALAYSIAN MECHANIC As Shanker is appointed to A1 Team Malaysia's technical team Shanker Ramachandran, like most Malaysians who are pursuing their love of motorsports, originally joined the motorsport fraternity as a team...

As Shanker is appointed to A1 Team Malaysia's technical team

Shanker Ramachandran, like most Malaysians who are pursuing their love of motorsports, originally joined the motorsport fraternity as a team crew member as he could simply not afford to race. This month, however, his dream came true when he was appointed to A1 Team Malaysia's technical crew as one of the team's mechanics.

"I've always wanted to get to the top of international racing participating at the highest level and we can't get much higher than A1 Grand Prix," said a delighted Shanker from Silverstone yesterday. "It is a real privilege for me to be working alongside Malaysia's best two racing drivers, Alex and Fairuz, and the opportunity given to me by A1 Team Malaysia to work alongside engineer, Greg Wheeler, on a state of the art A1 Grand Prix race machine is truly a dream come true for me."

Shanker was employed by A1 Team Malaysia two weeks ago and was immediately whisked off to join the team's testing at Paul Ricard from the 24th to the 26th of August. He is now at Silverstone where all the 25 national teams' cars are based to be readied for the first round of the series at Brands Hatch in a little more than 2 weeks from now.

As far back as 1992, Shanker, who was then a typical Malaysian 17 year-old, never failed to turn up at the Shah Alam race circuit at every race meeting to mingle with the racing drivers and teams hoping to land a race seat.

"But it was not to be," recalled Shanker. "With the possibility of breaking into the limelight as a race driver being practically nil, my father agreed with my decision to enrol for a mechanical engineering certificate course in 1992 - as I thought that if I couldn't race myself I could try to make it into a race team as a mechanic or service crew."

In between his studies, this 'petrolhead' from Klang, a coastal port city just west of Kuala Lumpur, could be found around the race teams at almost every race meeting around Kuala Lumpur and Sepang. He has been involved with race teams in Malaysia's super series, Formula Hayabusa and the Merdeka Millenium Endurance races ever since 1995 after he finished his studies with a Certificate of Automobile Engineering.

When asked what his ambition is now that he has joined A1 Team Malaysia, Shanker without hesitation said, "I like to see myself elevated to a position as a chief mechanic and hopefully later as the engineer working under the chief engineer of the most successful A1 Grand Prix team, A1 Team Malaysia."

Now 30 and not yet married, Shanker also revealed that there's a lot of pressure from his parents for him to get married but he said he's not thinking of getting married anytime soon. "The time will come but not now. I can only think about progressing myself further through the Malaysian team and besides there is a lot of travelling to be done therefore being a bachelor helps."

Immediately before joining A1 Team Malaysia, Shanker, now 30, was looking after the Formula BMW Minardi team in the Formula BMW Asia series for two years. Upon his graduation from the Workers Institute of Technology in 1995, he joined Malaysian sports car manufacturer, TVR Sports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. In his five years there he was given the opportunity to receive training in TVR Engineering in Blackpool, England.

Alex Yoong commented on Shanker saying, "We are very happy with Shanker being on board. He is extremely enthusiastic and is now a key member of our team, a team that represents Malaysia at an exceptionally high level of sport on a global platform"

Fairuz commented "We all know what it means to have a dream.  Shanker's
is coming true for him.  It's great to work with him."

Jack Cunningham added; "We will be recruiting more personnel into the team before the season starts and as the season progresses. Three more young, skilled Malaysians are expected to join the team before the first race this month in the roles of data engineer, logistics supervisor and another mechanic. A1 Team Malaysia wants to be successful and only the best that deserve a role within the team will be chosen. Shanker knows he has quite some hard work to do now - we wouldn't have selected him if we didn't think he was capable of making the step up to this level. I hope everyone will wish him luck and look out for him on the television."

After the opening round in Britain's Brand Hatch, the A1 Grand Prix will visit Germany for round 2 and Portugal for round 3. Malaysia's round will be held at the Sepang International Circuit on the 20th November as round 5 after round 4 in Australia. Two weeks separate each round from Brands Hatch to Sepang.

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Alex Yoong , Jack Cunningham , Greg Wheeler