Aviator, entrepreneur, professional race car driver, supercar enthusiast and DJ – Shana Parmeshwar comes across as a compulsive and passionate doer of things.
Soon she, with her partner Anush chakravarthi, will have the distinction of giving India its longest circuit of 5.5 km, to come in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
Shana runs this race track with Motor Club Marque One – an FIA Grade 2 and FIM Grade B certified – spread over 219 acres. This would allow the track to accommodate cars with a power to weight ratio of 1 hp: 2-3 kg and be open to a larger scale of international racing events.
Born and raised in Bengaluru, Shana’s interest in racing dates back to her childhood, when she was fascinated by fast cars, a passion she shares with her father. She moved to Malaysia to pursue higher education with an interest in aviation.
On the fast lane
While in Malaysia, Shana’s interest in motorsport grew. Between 2005 and 2009, it was an integral part of the legendary K1000 rally in India. In fact, she participated as the official security driver.
Since then, Shana has competed in several events in various parts of the world and has driven a wide variety of terrain including ice.
From circuits in Malaysia to Sweden to England, Shana has driven a variety of racing cars including Volkswagen, Porsche and Lamborghini. She is a well-known and popular figure in the automotive community, with many followers.
When her interest in aviation peaked, Shana moved to New Zealand for training and ended up flying private and commercial airliners in the country.
At one point in her life she even considered a full-time piloting career in Botswana.
“I had my hands full to pursue my dreams. From New Zealand, my next stop was London, where I started an import-export business in the automotive industry. As the journey progressed, I started to build some ‘time for myself’ in my life for pro racing, ”Shana says. His history.
In addition to being content with aviation, motorsport and entrepreneurship, Shana also volunteered for the Red Cross and dabbled in entertainment as a DJ.
Shana says she didn’t want to infringe on her family’s reputation as a leader in education.
“It’s easy to take someone’s walking stick and move on. I chose to do everything differently with no last name involved. It was a challenge, and I thought if it takes time, it’s fine; I am happy to build my reputation. That was one of my cheeky motives, if you want to call it that, ”she laughs.
A car has no idea your gender
“Was being a racing woman a challenge? Shana admits being asked this question every time.
“It’s no different from anyone else because the car has no idea your gender, and you don’t need physical strength to drive cars. You need tactical skills, and I think women have a lot of them, ”she said.
She believes in “the right place at the right time” and overcoming challenges, and there is no distinction between male and female.
“I think if you’re good at what you do, it’s a game-changer. And it is important that women do not go and make a fool of themselves. But they don’t. It’s just that assumption that women make. It is therefore encouraging to see several women making their mark in motorsport in India and abroad, ”she adds.
Shana points out that racing is about more than Formula 1. There are other forms of racing – you can start with something basic like karting and work your way up.
Having raced on most race tracks in Europe and India, Shana also holds the ‘fastest woman in a production car’ on the 2019 Buddh circuit, and drove the first Indian car to participate in the Modball rally in 2017. (UK / EU).
“What I like the most is being on the right track and driving faster than the boys. I can’t help it, but I give them a big cheeky smile every time I pass them. Then when it’s over, I come back and give them a big hug, saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you,” ”she said.
India’s longest racing circuit launched
Shana agrees that the 5.5 km long running track at Anantapur is an ambitious project for India.
She explains: “People think it’s all about Formula 1, but in racing there are different notes. So we decided to go for a Category B track, where everything except Formula 1 can be hosted and presented to a wider audience.
The track will be built alongside other facilities such as a complex, restaurants, residences and educational institutes. Designed by architects in Europe and built by the Anush construction company, Shana says it will have “a European feel”.
“We originally started with the idea of a 3.2 kilometer race track and decided to make a statement with the biggest track in India and one of the biggest in Asia since we had the space for that, ”she adds.
Construction at the site – just 40 km from Bangalore – is underway with around 3.5 km of track already cut.
“We’re in a position to finish it in a year or two or two years when we open our doors to the public,” she says.
The original plan was to establish the racetrack in Karnataka, but Shana faced several obstacles at each step. The government of Andhra Pradesh has proven to be more welcoming with its support, and the location is a win-win since Anantapur is not too far from Bengaluru town.
Shana hopes the track will welcome Formula 2, 3, 4 and Lamborghini Super Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup, Tata Truck Racing series and superbikes.
“The cost of the project would be around Rs 150-200 crore, and we are raising funds through investments from individuals and some banks. We are in talks with international investors, but COVID-19 has made the process long and frustrating. It’s also not easy to get your project proposal out to people who don’t understand motorsport, ”says Shana.
While she can live the multitasking life to the fullest, Shana says she’s not the type to like adding feathers to her hat.
“I see every opportunity as a chance to gain knowledge and experience because all I want to do when I’m on my last breath, when I look back, is that I’ve done everything right and that I have lived a life without regrets, ”she says.