#KetchupTalks: Beyond the Finish Line - Yuven Sundaramoorthy talks about his racing career, wins and motivation

Piyush Singh
New Update
Yuven Sundaramoorthy

In an exclusive interview, we delve into the high-octane journey of Yuven Sundaramoorthy, where he talks about his journey, motivation and love for race tracks. 

Racing isn't just a sport; it's a symphony of speed, where adrenaline isn't a side effect; it's the main event. Some racers can make the heartbeats of the spectators faster than the cars on the race tracks and Yuven Sundaramoorthy has been doing that since the start of his career. Zooming through the twists and turns of the motorsports world, Yuven Sundaramoorthy isn't just taking part but also has been dominating the tracks since his debut. He currently commands attention in the 2023 USF Pro 2000 Championship, showcasing his racing prowess with Exclusive Autosport. Simultaneously, he navigates the dynamic landscape of the 2023 Indy NXT under the banner of Abel Motorsports. This isn't Sundaramoorthy's first lap around the track as he has been associated with the thrill of racing for quite some time. At a mere 14 years old, Yuven notched his name in the annals of racing history as the youngest victor at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Even thinking about it, one can't help but be captivated by his extraordinary achievements. In an exclusive interview, we delve into the high-octane journey of Yuven Sundaramoorthy, unraveling the motivations and aspirations that fuel his drive for success.

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Scroll down to read the full conversation:

Can you tell us about your early exposure to racing and how it all began for you?

My journey into racing began at a young age, starting with karting. I was just a kid with a passion for speed and competition, and karting allowed me to channel that enthusiasm. I dedicated three years to mastering the craft of kart racing, honing my skills, and laying a solid foundation for my future in motorsports. It was during those early years that I realized my love for the sport and my desire to pursue it professionally. Karting was the gateway to the incredible adventure that has been my racing career, and I’m grateful for those formative experiences that set me on this path.

Your background is quite diverse, having lived in the USA, China, and India. How have these experiences shaped you as a racer and as an individual?

I was born in 2003 in Wisconsin, USA, with strong roots in Madurai, India. At the tender age of three, my family embarked on a transformative journey that would shape my life. We ventured to China, where we resided for six years, immersing ourselves in a new environment and way of life. Subsequently, we returned to the United States, settling in upstate New York. In late 2020, my family once again relocated, back to Wisconsin, where I currently attend University. These early travels instilled in me a global outlook and a deep appreciation for diversity, which I believe is invaluable in the competitive world of motorsports. These experiences also taught me adaptability, a crucial trait in a sport that demands quick thinking and adjustment to changing conditions. Personally, it broadened my horizons, fostering a curiosity about the world and a profound respect for different ways of life. 

Transitioning from karting to open-wheel racing, which skills from karting do you think helped you excel in formula cars?

Transitioning from karting to open-wheel racing felt like a seamless progression for me. Karting instilled essential fundamentals, such as racecraft, precision, and the ability to read the track. It honed my understanding of racing lines and emphasized the importance of momentum, particularly in tight corners. Karting also cultivated a competitive spirit and sharp reflexes, qualities crucial in open-wheel racing where even fractions of a second matter. Consequently, these foundational skills from my karting days provided a strong platform for success in the world of formula cars, enabling me to adapt and thrive in this new racing discipline.

Could you share your thoughts and emotions from your historic moment of winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at such a young age? 

Winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at just 14 years of age was a truly remarkable and emotional moment in my racing career. It’s a place with an illustrious history and is iconic in the world of motorsports. When I crossed that finish line, I felt an incredible mix of joy, pride, and a profound sense of accomplishment. It was a validation of all the hard work, sacrifices, and dedication that had gone into my racing journey. Knowing that I had made history as the youngest race winner at such a legendary track was both humbling and inspiring. It motivated me to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in my racing career and to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way. That victory will forever remain a cherished memory for me, serving as a reminder of what is attainable through unwavering passion and resolute determination.

You're the first Indian American to win an NTT INDYCAR SERIES-sanctioned event. What does this milestone mean to you, and how has it impacted your career?

Becoming the first Indian American to win an NTT INDYCAR SERIES-sanctioned event is a milestone that carries immense significance for me. It represents a culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and belief in my abilities. Importantly, it not only opened many doors but has allowed me to inspire many young racers from across the globe. The impact of the win even brought increased media attention and recognition, paving the way for exciting opportunities and partnerships. It’s a milestone I cherish and one that continues to shape the trajectory of my racing journey.

What challenges have you faced in your journey going from the USF Pro 2000 Championship and later to INDY NXT by Firestone and how have you adapted?

Moving up to these advanced and prestigious levels of racing presented its unique set of challenges. The competition at these higher tiers is incredibly fierce, with talented drivers and demanding race schedules. Adapting to the higher speeds, increased physical demands, and more complex race strategies required a learning curve. Additionally, understanding the technical aspects of the cars and mastering the intricacies of each track became paramount. To overcome these challenges, I dedicated myself to constant improvement, seeking guidance from experienced mentors and embracing advanced training methods. Developing mental resilience and enhancing physical conditioning was crucial to meet the demands of racing at these elite levels. It’s been a demanding yet incredibly rewarding journey, and each obstacle has contributed to my growth and success in the sport.

Your support network is extensive, including partnerships with Alexander Rossi and Pieter Rossi. How have these relationships influenced your racing career?

My association with Alexander Rossi and Pieter Rossi has been instrumental in shaping my racing career. Their experience, knowledge, and guidance have provided me with invaluable insights into the world of motorsports. Alexander Rossi, with his achievements in INDYCAR and Formula 1, has been a mentor who shared his racing wisdom and offered valuable advice. Pieter Rossi’s expertise in motorsports marketing and management has opened doors to opportunities and sponsorships. These relationships have not only accelerated my learning curve but have also provided the necessary support to compete at the highest level. They’ve been a crucial part of my journey, and I'm incredibly grateful for the impact they've had on my career.

Can you tell us more about the comprehensive support system you have, including fitness training, nutrition, and mental coaching, and how it helps you perform at your best?

My comprehensive support system is essential for peak performance in motorsports. With a dedicated fitness trainer, I maintain top physical condition, crucial for endurance in racing. A nutrition expert tailors my diet to provide the energy and hydration needed during races. My mental coach helps me stay focused and resilient under pressure. Additionally, a physiologist ensures my body is optimized for racing through factors like hydration and recovery. Together, this team empowers me to excel in the demanding world of motorsports.

You're not only a successful racer but also committed to charitable causes like autism and cancer. How do you balance your racing career with your philanthropic efforts?

Balancing my racing career with philanthropic endeavors is a priority for me. I allocate specific time slots in my schedule for charity work, ensuring it receives the attention it deserves. Additionally, I leverage my platform in the racing community to raise awareness and support for causes like autism and cancer. This enables me to make a positive impact while pursuing my passion for racing. It’s a gratifying experience to use my influence for meaningful change beyond the racetrack, and it reinforces my belief in the importance of giving back to the community.

How do you prepare yourself mentally and physically for the demanding challenges of racing at such a high level?

As I mentioned earlier, I maintain a rigorous training regimen under the guidance of a dedicated fitness trainer, ensuring I’m physically fit for the rigors of racing. Nutrition is carefully managed to meet my energy needs. Mentally, I work with a seasoned mental coach who helps me develop focus, resilience, and mental fortitude through techniques like visualization and mindfulness. I also employ neuro-cognitive training to sharpen my decision-making skills. A physiologist fine-tunes my body’s performance, addressing factors like hydration and recovery. Balancing rest and recovery is key to approaching each race with optimal readiness, both physically and mentally.

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