The world is celebrating the phenomenon called Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar as he hangs up his boots after being the bedrock of Indian cricket for 24 eventful years. While we look back with awe and wonder at his cricketing achievements, it is Sachin’s unbridled passion for cars that makes him extra special for us at Autocar India. The bond we share with Sachin the car nut, is based on this mutual love for cars. And for the past four years, in our September anniversary issues, the master has been sharing this passion with our readers. After driving with him in some of the quickest cars in tracks around Europe, we discovered his repertoire of drives is not restricted to the cricket field.
Sachin is an acceleration junkie who feels the true measure of a sports car is by its 0-100kph time. His knowledge of 0-100kph times of various models will shock you. And when he says “This car is a 2.9, isn’t it?”, you know he is referring to seconds it takes the Catherham R500 to reach the ton. Yes, it’s spot on. In fact his knowledge of cars will astound the most serious petrolheads. And where do you think he gets his fix of car news and reviews?
Sachin doesn’t just know about cars, he knows how to drive. And drive fast, seriously fast. Sitting shotgun with him in a McLaren MP4-12C, you realize that it is his reflexes and hand-eye coordination honed to whack 150kph balls into oblivion that make him comfortable with speed. Yet, the maturity with which he conducts himself on the cricket field is reflected behind the wheel too. No boy racer antics, no lurid power slides, just smooth measured movements as he builds up speed rapidly around the track at the Dunsfold airfield. Continued..
But it’s not just acceleration that Sachin looks for in a great car. The car has to sound good too. The aural experience is an important part of the car, so even the super-quick McLaren does not make it to his list. But that’s not the problem when he scorches the track in the supercharged 2-litre, 300bhp minimalistic Ariel Atom with its banshee like wail. It’s a car that he treats with the utmost caution. “I’m not going to push it. It’s got no traction control, so why take chances?” Despite his love of speed he is just not the type to get carried away.
Earlier this year, Sachin joined us and eight winners of the BMW Dynamic1 contest at BMW’s test centre at Maisach for a day with the 315bhp M135i. The master blaster joined in as an ordinary participant, and by the end of the day everyone was as much in awe of his driving as his batting. “It seems that there is nothing that he cannot do”, opined one participant. How quick is Sachin? His lap time was just a few tenths slower that professional racing driver Armaan Ebrahim! In the end he said,” In spite of having driven for so many years, you still find out there is room for improvement”. Yes, it’s his constant desire to improve in whatever he does that makes Sachin the phenomenon he is. You become a master, by staying a student.
After Sachin has played the last ball, and shed the weight of the expectations of a billion people he carried on his shoulder, he can finally spend time with his family and do all the things he enjoys. You might not see him in the field any more, but you are sure to find him on the track.