Idol Mika’s words push Michimi

Posted on August 18, 2013

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It is sweltering in Chennai on a Saturday afternoon as twenty-year-old Shinya Michimi almost buries his face into a table fan at the Madras Motor Sports Club race track at Irungattukotai. Michimi, born and brought up in Ohio, USA, is not competing in the driver’s championship of the MMSC-FMSCI national racing championships, but has come down to make use of the opportunity to race. His idol Mika Hakkinen’s words are what motivate Michimi, who is half-American and half-Japanese. A few years back Michimi happened to meet the former Formula One world champion by chance. “I was in a toy store in London and I was the only one who recognised him. After I told him my ambition to become a Formula One driver, he told me to keep at it, put in extra efforts and make use of all my opportunities,” said Michimi, who placed eight in the MRF FF 1600 race and later bagged a podium finish in the next round.

Shinya Michimi

Shinya Michimi

Leaving the comforts of home, Michimi left for Tokyo after he was granted a scholarship by Toyota to take part in the Formula Japan series two years back. “Being part Japanese actually helped in the transition. Ever since meeting Hakkinen I was more convinced that I would take up racing as a career. I am a championship contender in the current Formula Japan series and last year I had a top-ten finish,” said Michimi.

But what makes him leave Tokyo to come all the way to India to race?  “There is only a limited level of exposure you get in Japan. To ensure I get more exposure I have to come to India on my own expense and part sponsorship, since I can’t afford to go to Europe,” said Michimi. And the weather only makes the young driver go the extra mile. “Although conditions in Japan are similar, it is cruel in Chennai,” said a visibly dehydrated Michimi .

The story was reported on July 27 during the second round of the MMSC-FMSCI national racing championship round.

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Posted in: Madras, Sports