Yevan David’s number one is Formula one
By Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna
On 2 May 2021, the rising racing star Yevan Ranasinghe David became the first Sri Lankan to win a European Heat karting race in Genk, Belgium. Born in the UK to Sri Lankan parents, Yevan moved to Singapore at a very young age. In 2017, he won the X30 IAME Asia Series Cadet champion and in 2018 theX30 IAME Asia cup Cadet Champion. Yevan was placed 15th among the top 80 drivers in the world under the age category 12-15 following the recent event in Belgium.
In conversation with Little Stars, the 13-year-old racing champion said that his one number goal is Formula One and his future plans include improving the racing resources in Sri Lanka.
You created history when he won Round One of the 2021 Champions of the Future Karting Race in Genk, Belgium. How do you remember the experience?
It was quite nice because in the last corner of the last lap I took the lead and won the race. I can still remember how I was just fighting for the position. What mattered to me was the position, not whether I am the lead or not. Once I got ahead and took the lead, I had won the heat and that was a great feeling.
This winning feeling can’t be new to you as you have emerged as a champion before. Can you remember the first time you emerged a champion?
Yes. The first race I ever won was back in Singapore in 2017. I remember the feeling: I was so happy; delighted. And it felt the same when people congratulated me, right after the race. It is a feeling that I never get tired of. It was amazing.
How old were you then?
I was 10 years old.
You were placed 15th among the top 80 drivers in the world under your age category following the event in Belgium. Will you get to race under the same category again?
Next year I will go into the senior category which is 15 and over. So, this is my final year in this category. When I move into the next age group the placements will be different.
What do you do apart from racing?
Mainly I do gaming and I have a lot of school work to do. I do a lot of training as well. On my off days, I mostly just relax. If it’s closer to a game I train more and get prepared for the race.
Your permanent residence is in Singapore. When are you planning to go back there?
I was born in England and moved to Singapore when I was two years old. Since then I have been in Singapore. I am now in Italy. I came to race this year. Since I have to fly back and forth to participate in races I decided to stay in Italy for the year and I plan to go back to Singapore in November.
Can you tell us about your school?
I go to British School, which is an online school for athletes who travel a lot and can’t go to a real school. Currently, I am doing Maths, Science and English. Soon I will be doing History, Geography and maybe Arts and Design.
Is go-karting the first step towards racing?
Go-karting is the main thing you want to start and you move on to cars only when you are 15 or 16. So for sure go-karting is the number one step. There is nothing else.
Does this mean you have to wait for a couple more years to race riding a car? Are you looking forward to that day?
Yes and yes. It will be Formula 4 and I am looking at 2023 to move into that.
Looks like Formula One is your number one goal. What is your plan to get there?
Yes. That’s the number one goal. Like I said, I plan to get into Formula Four by 2023. And from there I have to try to get sponsors and try to move up the stages – Formula 3 and Formula 2. And then only I can get to Formula One. It will take five years or more to get there.
Sometimes racing doesn’t seem like the safest sport to pursue. Are there any safety procedures you have to follow during training?
It is not a part of my training and I don’t wear anything extra for my safety. Usually, you wear the helmet, the gloves, the protector and the suit, and these are the main things that will protect a racer.
Normally, when we are driving we don’t think about accidents or getting hurt, we just think about getting the best position possible.
What’s your opinion about the resources available in Sri Lanka for someone willing to start? The sport is not widely popular among Sri Lankans.
Well for sure it looks quite difficult but the Bandaragama circuit is quite good. There was an international race there in 2018 and everyone loved it. But we haven’t raced there since. I’d love to go back there and race professionally.
Resources are quite difficult to find in Sri Lanka as you said. I am not sure why. Maybe when I am older, I could help the owners of the track or other Sri Lankan professionals to build resources at the Bandaragama circuit and help bring more people into karting. It’s not like we have no racing. But the very few resources Sri Lanka has are not the resources you need to do it professionally.
Do you have any role models in the field?
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Because they are the greatest in F1 right now. Their mentality and their hard work impresses me and makes me want to be like them.
Anyone who supports you?
Definitely, my family. They put in a lot of hard work. They have always believed in me and they always push me through. They always give me the support I need and 50% of why I am here today is devoted to them. They allowed me to race. All I could do is thank them, achieve my goal and make them proud.
Can you tell us more about your family?
My father Yohan David who used to race when he was younger but never professionally as he never had the budget to race like me. But he is putting all the effort and the money for me to race. I am here in Europe racing a whole season because of him. My mother is Roshika Ranasinghe. She also puts a lot of hard work in for me. She usually tells me to enjoy myself and just go on the ride. She reminds me how I wanted to do this from a young age and why I should continue.
My father would sometimes push a little hard on me but my mother would calm me down and remind me to enjoy it. It’s this dynamic duo who pushes me through this journey.
Then there are my two brothers who are also into racing: Yanik and Yevin Ranasinghe David. And then there is my sister Shenara Ranasinghe David.
Was it your father who inspired you to try out racing?
Mainly yes. Because he brought me to the karting track for the first time and let me try it. I really enjoyed it that first time. I started from there. For sure 80-90% of my inspiration comes from him.
Where does the rest of it come from?
I think from myself and by watching Formula 1 from a young age.