Emirati competitive racer wants to inspire aspiring racers - GulfToday

Emirati competitive racer wants to inspire young racing enthusiasts

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Al Falasi has always finished every race with enviable timing.

Manjula Ramakrishnan

Ghaith Al Falasi is a Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) certified driver, Drift enthusiast and influencer whose passion for the racing track has taken him across various continents. Having represented the UAE in various races, Al Falasi hopes to inspire other young and aspiring racers to take up racing as a sport.

Ghaith Al Falasi in conversation with Panorama.

What prompted your interest in racing?

Even as a very young boy I was fascinated by cars, be it toy cars or the real kind and over the years it grew into a fierce passion. What goes under the hood, the mechanics of an automobile, the extreme speed and adrenaline rush, simply everything about these racing machines captivated me.

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Al Falasi has done stunts for car advertisements and TV shows.

How was your FIA experience?

Even though I have been into competitive racing from 2009, I registered myself with FIA only in 2017 and from then on my racing career has only been on an upward march. The kind of learning and experience I got from FIA has been tremendous. It taught me to test the boundaries of my skill and to keep pushing me a few notches higher each time. It also taught me safe driving without compromising on the thrills of racing.

How memorable was your first race?

My first was a bike race in 2009 where I emerged winner and this was the start of some great times to come in my life. The race was extra special in other ways too; I promised my father, an ace drag racer himself, that with this win, I will continue to be committed to my skill and become a racer of some repute. From here the passion burnt like wild fire and anywhere I visit – be it even as a tourist – I try to see in the planning stage of my holiday itself if there are races happening there for me to register.

What would be your favourite pick of cars on the racing track?

Today I race in some mean race monsters – Renault, BMW, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Jeep, Porsche, McLaren, Bugatti, Koenigsegg, Pagani Zonda – but the modest bike that gave me my first win still stands apart.

How good are the Dubai race courses?

I got my FIA licence in Dubai Autodrome and have raced in Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit too, which is my favourite track in the Middle East. We are easily among a few of the global best.  With over 22 trophies under my belt as a competitive racer, I have always finished every race with enviable timing and owe my victories to the practice sessions on UAE circuits.

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Al Falasi is grateful for the support he receives from Dubai municipality, his employer.

What kind of support have you received from your workplace and family?

The UAE as a nation helps not just us Emiratis but anybody with talent to keep their dreams alive. I have always been able to chase my dreams and this is largely due to the support I get from Dubai Municipality – my employer for the past 17 years and counting. Work is work and no compromises there, but once work is done, it is racing and driving for me, and my family offers me unstinting support that helps me pursue my passion.

You are also passionate about extreme sports.

Yes indeed. I have done stunts for car advertisements, TV shows, karting, drifting, jet skiing and similar for it reinforces faith in myself and also for the sheer adrenaline rush it gives me. Drift demands the driver to have superior control over his vehicle and in order to achieve this I have made several changes to the racing car that I drive.

What has been that one great blood rush moment?

There are several races that qualify for this memorable moment. The one I particularly remember is when I did not race and on the contrary drove at a very slow 27kms per hour on the Ice Rink, Dubai Mall. This was for the first time ever that something like this was attempted, not to forget the limits ice can place on the traction for wheels.

What would be your message to young race enthusiasts?

Young people are blessed with abundant energy and the best place to release this in a healthy way is to be in the race track. Racing has a cathartic effect, a positive channel, challenging the limits of young racers. Make sure you race safely though, that you are trained right, you are mentally and physically ready for it and then enjoy this amazing sport.