Need For Speed
Article from the Sun daily by Kishen Alex Raj (posted on 19 July 2016)
MORE and more talents are emerging from the Malaysian racing scene, one of them being Penang-born Eric Louis Pragasam.
Apart from being a huge fan of the NBA, Eric loves to race, and like everyone else in motorsport, he aims to take part in Formula 1 as soon as he can.
The 19-year-old has been racing karts for three years, and participating in Rotax Max Challenge Asia/Malaysia. To get to his dream destination, Eric is set to compete in the 2016 Formula 4 South East Asia Championship this August – created in 2013 to help bridge the gap between karting and single-seater formula racing – from which a successful stint can propel him to more senior Formulas, and land him a GP2 seat, or even a Formula 1 test or race seat.
How did your affair with racing begin?
When I was nine years old, my dad took the whole family to Kuala Lumpur for a holiday. We went to a gokart circuit, and that was when I fell in love with racing. After that, we moved here and I started going for go-kart lessons. When I turned 12, I ventured into karting full-on.
Who are your role models?
I play basketball during my free time, so when it comes to the sport, I look up to LeBron James. However, my idol when it comes to racing is Lewis Hamilton. I like that he always wants to be on top – he's not happy when he doesn't win. The relentless attitude is one I share.
What are the challenges you face as a young racer?
The main challenge I face is the pressure of driving; being in the car itself. For instance, the top speed of a Formula Masters car is 220km/h, and a Formula 4 car can go from 0 to 100km/h in just four seconds.
It's tough because the car isn't equipped with power steering and that gives my hand tremendous pressure.
With the speed, the g-force can hurt my neck. You also tend to lose a lot of water after one race, but I'm coping with it, and it becomes easier to deal with as I grow older. Those are also the main reasons why I go to the gym a lot; to build a strong neck and core, and high stamina.
Why Formula 4 instead of Formula Masters?
We wanted to go for Formula Masters in the beginning, but then we realised that Formula 4 is going to be held in Malaysia. Since it's going to be a new thing here, we decided to go for it!
How do you beat the stress of racing?
Not to brag, but in all honesty I know I am good. The stress would occur if I don't get a proper car, or if I get one with some technical issue. The only way to overcome it is to give my 110%.
There was once when I was still karting, and I lost the Asian Champion title to an Indonesian racer because I got a 10-second penalty. It posed a stress that I couldn't handle, so I cried that one time.
Which is more important: the car or driver?
Definitely car. Without a good car, even the best driver cannot be number one. Look at Lewis Hamilton.
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