Racing fraternity mourns Ashwin’s tragic end

The death of former National champion Ashwin Sundar has plunged the motorsports fraternity into shock and grief.

Ashwin Sundar and his wife Niveditha were killed when the car in which they travelling caught fire after ramming into a tree at MRC Nagar, in Chennai’s Raja Annamalai Puram.   -  Special Arrangement

The death of former National champion Ashwin Sundar has plunged the motorsports fraternity into shock and grief. The 27-year-old was a versatile racer in the domestic racing scene, winning National titles in two- and four-wheeler categories.

In the late 2000’s, Ashwin was part of former F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan’s racing team Speed NK Racing. Recalling Ashwin’s exploits, Narain said: “When we started the racing academy, he was one of the drivers shortlisted from 30 of them. He raced for two years with us and went on to win the Formula Rolon Chevrolet title in 2009.”

“It is extremely sad and unfortunate what has happened, and I still can't believe it,” added Narain.

Competitors who have raced with Ashwin expressed shock at the champion driver’s death while recalling his outstanding talent on track.

“He was one of the finest car racers I’ve raced against,” said Saran Vikram Tmars, who was Ashwin’s main competitor for 17 years from 1999. Saran recalled his memories of racing with Ashwin in the JK National racing championship last year in the BMW support race called the Formula LGB4. “He was easily the finest, a complete package,” said Saran.

Saran insisted Ashwin was a very safe driver with clean habits and it was difficult to believe that he over-sped during the fateful Saturday morning. “I can’t believe this. He used to tell his friends, ‘when someone is sitting with you, always drive carefully’.”

“It is a great loss to motorsports,” added Saran.

Fellow International racer Armaan Ebrahim said, “We have grown up together and entered the Formula LGB racing at the same time in 2004. He was exceptionally talented and was good on both two and four wheelers. I am extremely shocked to hear this.”

Gokul Krishna, former National formula Swift champion, said on track he was one of the best racers in the country. “I drove against him from 2010-2013 in the Formula Swift category in the JK Tyre national championship. He was very confident of his abilities. And that reflected in his attitude on the track,” said Gokul. “Had he been level headed, he would have scaled even greater heights.”

Ashwin’s good friend and co-racer Raghul Rangaswami said the last race Ashwin drove was in Coimbatore in the JK Tyre national racing championship for Dark Dawn team in FLGB4 category last year. “He taught me the basics of the sport when I entered the scene in 2012. Ashwin was an example of an ideal car racer. His car control was amazing,” he said.

Meanwhile, FMSCI president Akbar Ebrahim expressed his shock through his social media page saying, “Tragic news. Ashwin Sundar, a fine young man who excelled in all formats of motor sport is no more. It’s hard to digest. Known him since an infant when he took to the sport and was always thrilled to see him perform in all disciplines. It’s sad. Really really sad. Rest in peace Ashwin and (his wife) Niveditha. May God bless both your souls.”