Motorsport Writing

Nearly all my motorsport writing for OVERDRIVE can be found if you click here. But the highlights (including a few car stories) from OVERDRIVE & other magazines like The Road Rat, AutoHebdo, BS Motoring/Motoring World, amongst others, can be found below. 


Motoring World Women's Special Issue
My old pals at Motoring World are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a series of special issues. They invited me back to write a piece for their women's special issue. What's it like for me to be a woman in motorsport journalism? It's a tricky subject to tackle in 1400 or so words. Click here to read it. 

Hero Motorsports at Dakar 2024
Second-place overall for Hero Motorsports at the 2024 Dakar Rally, courtesy Ross Branch. And second-place for TVS Racing's Indian rider Harith Noah in the Rally 2 category of the event. It was a great time to be an Indian journalist at the Dakar, which I covered for Evo India. Buy the mag here. 

A(nother) Schumacher Story

After a bit of a break from motorsport writing, something stirred in me when I watched the Michael Schumacher documentary on Netflix. This is the story that burst forth, dedicated in part to my childhood motorsport hero, and in part to my muse, motorsport itself. Click here to read it. 


Mercedes-Benz EQS First Drive

The all-new EQS is Mercedes' electric interpretation of their S-Class. But is this the ultimate luxury EV on the market? I tried to answer this question, and a few others in this piece for OVERDRIVE's August 2021 issue. Click here to read it. 


Tesla Model 3 Performance Review

The fact that Tesla's headed to India caused a considerable stir in Indian automotive circles. So I did something of an co-owner's perspective/long-term review of the Tesla Model 3 Performance for OVERDRIVE, which even made it to the cover of their May 2021 issue. You can read the full story if you click right here. 


The Road Rat: The 1979 Giro d'Italia 

The Giro d'Italia was a mad motorsport event that was partly a mad rally-style dash across Italy, and partly a circuit racing extravaganza, where rally and race stars united. This is the story of the 1979 edition of the Giro, where Lancia teamed up Walter Röhrl & Gilles Villeneuve in a bid to win. Which they very nearly did. Full story in Issue 6 of The Road Rat.  

Life lessons for motorsport's finest

Over the years, I've had very many interesting conversations with racing legends, from which I've accrued many life lessons. It seemed fitting to compile some of this wisdom for my very last column for OVERDRIVE which appeared in the Aug 2020 issue. You can read it here.

My Best Race
A compilation that features extracts from past interviews with Michael Schumacher, Derek Bell, Ari Vatanen, Emanuele Pirro & John McGuinness talking about their best races. The story appeared in the July 2020 issue of OVERDRIVE. Click here. 

Remembering Martin Holmes

For seven years I got to work alongside the legendary WRC copilot and journalist Martin Holmes. Unfortunately, soon after his 80th birthday, Holmes lost his battle with cancer. This is my tribute to possibly the greatest rally journalist of all time, and a fine gentleman. Click here to read the full story that appeared in the July 2020 issue of the magazine. 

Have you heard of Subhanrao Shinde?
Missing motorsport made me think about why I loved it to begin with. The answer came to me while I was staring at a photo of a rally truck that I once got to drive under supervision. Here then, is a tale of driving, motorsport, people, and more. 
Click here to read the piece for OVERDRIVE.

In memory of Sir Stirling Moss

To motorsport fans around the world, there can only be one Mr. Motor Racing. Which is why Sir Stirling Moss' death on April 12, 2020 was a devastating loss for anyone who loves racing. I wrote a tribute to him that appeared in the May 2020 issue of OVERDRIVE. Click here to read it. 

Who do you think you are?...

Another, more personal, tribute to Sir Stirling Moss, this time for Vol 3. of The Road Rat's free lockdown special called The Ratchet. I wrote about why Sir Stirling Moss meant so much to the motorsport fan in me, the life lessons that he taught me, and his quirks that got lost in translation. Download a copy here!

Ashish Rao Rane - Rally Raid Rider
In January 2020, Ashish Rao Rane, India's big privateer hope in the world of rally raid riding, had a harrowing adventure at the Africa Eco Race. I wrote a column about it for OVERDRIVE's Mar 2020 issue, and a feature in the Apr 2020 issue.

A brief encounter with Stig Blomqvist
It's a sign of the times, when after shaking hands with a legendary rally driver, one reaches for the hand sanitiser. That's what happened after I shook hands with Stig Blomqvist in Arvidsjaur. 
Click here to read the piece in the April 2020 issue of OVERDRIVE. 

Harith Noah - Rally Raid Rider

Harith Noah became the third Indian rider to compete in the Dakar rally, & quickly established himself as the youngest, most promising  rally-raid rider the country has produced so far. This is his story for OVERDRIVE's Mar 2020 issue. 


In memory of Paulo Goncalves
Paulo Goncalves died in a tragic accident at the 2020 Dakar Rally. Here we recount Paulo's gritty and tenacious performance at the event right up to the moment of his crash. Click here to read the full story from the Feb '20 issue of OVERDRIVE.

The Dakar 2020 Poem
Every now and again I get the urge to write motorsport poem - so here's the Dakar 2020 report all in verse form. Will it teach you anything new? Nope. But I certainly liked writing it. Click here to read the story from the Feb '20 issue of OVERDRIVE.  

Gaurav Gill - three time APRC champion

3-time Asia Pacific Rally Champion & multiple Indian National Rally Champion, Gaurav Gill's life changed forever 2019. A few months after the tragic accident at Rally Jodhpur, which put Gill in the middle of controversy, he spoke to me about moving on. Written for OVERDRIVE's Jan 2020 issue. 


Jehan Daruvala - Formula 3 racer

Jehan Daruvala is India's big Formula 1 hope. Winning the 2019 FIA F3 title might have made his road to F1 all the easier, but Murphy's law struck at the season finale at Sochi. He spoke to me after that heartbreaking weekend; the story appeared in OVERDRIVE's November 2019 issue. 

Ari Vatanen - 1981 World Rally Champion

Ari Vatanen is a motorsport legend. In this piece for OVERDRIVE's September 2019 issue, he spoke to me about his motorsport career, that horrific accident at Rally Argentina, and the repercussions he suffered in the months that followed. 


I stand with Gaurav Gill
August 2019 witnessed one of the darkest days in Indian motorsport. In the aftermath of the incident, Gaurav Gill, three-time APRC champion, was left largely to fend for himself. I wrote about why we need to stand with Gill now more than ever for the September 2019 issue of OVERDRIVE.

Niki Lauda - three time F1 world champion

Niki Lauda is so significant a figure in motorsport, that words like icon and legend don't do him justice. His death in 2019 was a blow to fans all across the world, and I am no exception. In OVERDRIVE's July 2019 issue, I wrote a letter to say goodbye. 


Remembering Sundaram Karivardhan

The late 'Kari', as he was fondly called, was so revered soul in Indian motor racing circles, that to this day the number 65 is spoken of in hushed whispers. Here's a column from OVERDRIVE's July 2019 issue, remembering him on his 65th birth anniversary.


25 years later: Remembering Ayrton Senna
Twenty-five years after F1's black weekend at Imola, we remember the sport's fallen hero, through the eyes of fans from around the world. Senna was talented, fast, intense, and brought a kind of light to the sport that made him the undisputed champion for a generation of fans. Click here to read my feature from the May 2019 issue of OVERDRIVE.

Remembering Nazir Hoosein

Nazir Hoosein was a powerful, if controversial figure in Indian motorsport. But the man certainly could tell a story. Here is a piece from OVERDRIVE's June 2019 issue written on Hoosein's passing. And one from Sep 2015 that delves into his memories. 

Remembering George Francis

Indian motorsport fans owe a debt of gratitude to George Francis, who painstakingly documented the country's golden era of racing. Here's a piece in memory of George written for OVERDRIVE's May 2019 issue. And one that features George's memories from Autocar India's Sep 2009 issue.


KP Aravind - Rally Raid Rider 
It took KP Aravind three attempts, and incredible discipline, to get to the finish line at Dakar. After becoming the second ever Indian to complete the rally, he spoke to me about his journey. Here's the feature from OVERDRIVE's March 19 issue. 

On Niki Lauda, Toby Price & Harper Lee
Harper Lee, Toby Price & Niki Lauda might seem like an unusual trio to band together in a piece of writing. Until you think of the word "courage". Lee's definition of courage and Price & Lauda's displays of just that. Click here to read the column I wrote for OVERDRIVE's February 2019 issue. 

A lap at the Nürburgring
Around the new year I found myself thinking back to a very memorable, entirely unplanned trip to the Nürburgring. It put the passage of time, and flipping of the calendar into perspective. Click here to read my column for OVERDRIVE's Jan 2019 issue!

On Floersch, Wickens, Kubica & Monger
Sophia Floersch's crash at Macau brought to mind racers who soldier on despite setbacks. People like Robert Wickens, Robert Kubica and the incredible Billy Monger. Wrote a column celebrating the brave for 
OVERDRIVE's Dec 2018 issue. Read it here.

Lewis Hamilton's fifth F1 title
Hamilton won his fifth title at the 2018 Mexican GP. Since his F1 debut he's slowly but surely established himself as one of the sport's most talented drivers. For OVERDRIVE's Dec 18 issue, I wrote about how when paired with Mercedes, he's unstoppable
Read it here.

On the amazing Ana Carrasco
When Ana Carrasco made history in Oct 18, winning the FIM Supersport 300 title, there were interesting conversations happening in India with regard to women. So I wrote a column about it for the Nov 18 issue of OVERDRIVERead it here. 

Carlos Sainz's third Dakar win
Although Carlos Sainz had been declared well past his prime by some, he took a second Dakar win 2018. In the WRC service park in Turkey I thought of Sainz, co-driver Luis Moya, and how age really is just a number. I wrote a column for the October 2018 issue of 
You can read it online here.

Driving a Lotus Renault E20 Formula 1 car 
There are dreams one persists in having, without daring to believe they will ever come true. This is one of them. 
Click here to read my story on driving the Lotus Renault E20 at Paul Ricard, published in OVERDRIVE's Sept '18 issue. 

Monaco GP Historique 2018
A visit to the Monaco GP Historique was motorsport time travel unlike anything I've ever experienced before. So much so that I had trouble picking my jaw back up off the ground, and pushing my eyeballs back into their sockets. When I recovered, 
I wrote about it for the September '18 issue of OVERDRIVE - click here to read.

Derek Bell - Five-time Le Mans winner
Five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell spoke to me about his career, including driving for Enzo Ferrari, unfinished business in F1, and what made him so good in sportscars for the
September '18 issue of OVERDRIVE. Read it here.

On OVERDRIVE turning 20
I grew up reading  OVERDRIVE and Grand Prix, so getting to edit the motorsport section of the magazine was something incredibly special to me. As was being part of the magazine's 20th anniversary. 
I explain why in my column for the September 2018 issue. 

Like a broken record
In June 2018, Timo Bernhard and the Porsche 919 Evo broke the lap record at the Nurburgring. And Romain Dumas drove the VW I.D R to a lap record shattering time at Pikes Peak. 
It inspired some verse for OVERDRIVE's August 2018 issue. Read here.

Formula E & Saudi Arabia
At the 2018 Berlin ePrix, FE announced its decision to go to Saudi Arabia, which some sections of the media seemed to think was progressive. 
This column, written for the July 2018 issue of OVERDRIVE, is a reaction to that opinion. 

They broke the mould with this one...
It's the real life heroes, the ones who are part of our lives, the ones we meet often, that we must celebrate as while we get the chance. Meet my childhood hero, who set the bar very, very high. 
Read my column for OVERDRIVE's June '18 issue here.

In memory of Henry Hope-Frost
Henry Hope Frost's passing was a tragedy. I never met him, but enjoyed the lovely drawings of race cars he made for his 'little friend' - proof that his "fever" could travel far and wide. I wrote about him for the Apr 18 issue of OVERDRIVE.
Read it here. 

CS Santosh on completing Dakar 2018
"People look at me and they say, 'Look at this guy, he never gives up.' But I gave up at the Dakar three times. I'm not exactly what people think I am. It's complex, like the Dakar," CS Santosh said this and other intriguing things in the post-Dakar chat I had with him for the Apr '18 issue of OVERDRIVE
Read the story here. 

The people who do...
If, like me, you fear that you make very little use of your mental capacities, a visit to the Dakar Rally is a must. It will help you discover, as I did when I followed the brave men and women who competed in the 2018 edition of the event, that your fears are accurate. Which is what my column for the February 2018 issue of OVERDRIVE was about. 
Read it here.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally - Dakar 2018
Following the fortunes of the Hero MotoSports Team as they tackled the 2018 Dakar Rally was a tremendous experience. Watching them push themselves to the edge of human endurance was eye-opening. I kept something of a diary of the event for OVERDRIVE's February 2018 issue. 
Read the story here. 

On Michael Schumacher and fate
"I believe in fate," Schumacher said. "Sometimes fate can be positive, or negative." Four years after his accident, I find myself replaying that interview in my head, especially while taking stock of the year gone by. My thoughts made it into the Dec 2017 issue of OVERDRIVE
Read the column here.

Happy birthday Mr. Motor Racing!
"You go as close as you can to fear," Sir Stirling Moss said to me of his approach to life and racing. And given that it was Mr. Motor Racing himself speaking I listened intently. His words came back to me when I had to write my column for the Sep 2017 issue of OVERDRIVE.
Click here to read the column.

Robert Kubica and his F1 comeback
I took this photograph of Robert Kubica airborne at the 2014 Rally Poland, just a couple of years after his near career-ending accident. 
I wrote a column about it when he was about to make his WEC debut, which didn't happen. Now close to his F1 comeback, here's another piece for OVERDRIVE's August 2017 issue.

Mahindra Racing's first Formula E win
Mahindra Racing's had its share of ups and downs in Formula E. The two races at the 2017 Berlin ePrix were proof of exactly this. Winning one race, and finishing first on track but then getting a ten-second penalty in the second. I was in the garage to see it all as it happened, and I wrote all about it for
OVERDRIVE's July 2017 issue.  

On the rocky path less taken
Watching riders make their way up a rocky incline at Rally Merzouga, each choosing a different path, seemed like a metaphor for life itself. Of how we all use different methods to tackle the same obstacle. 
I wrote about it for OVERDRIVE's June 2017 issue. 


Sebastien Loeb: 9-time World Rally Champion
When I spoke to Sebastien Loeb at Hockenheim RX in 2017, I was surprised to find that he wasn't the poker-faced stoic person that I thought he'd be. Instead, he was engaging, sharp, and spoke of talent, hardwork, laziness and what the most important things in life are. The interview appeared in the 
June 2017 issue of OVERDRIVE. Also found online here.

How CS Santosh is learning to fly...
Good things come to those who work very hard. Exactly what CS Santosh did on his way to becoming the country's most prominent rally-raid rider. We watched Santosh as he progressed through the 2017 Merzouga Rally, and traced his evolution as an athlete for 
OVERDRIVE magazine's June 2017 issue.

Driving a Skoda Fabia R5 rally car
I spent rather a lot of time stalling the Skoda Fabia R5 that 7-time German National Rally Champion, Matthias Kahle, allowed me to drive a little - with emphasis on the little. So this is merely an honest account of a frightened motorsport scribe being put on the spot, that 
appeared in the February 2017 issue of OVERDRIVE. 

Leaping straight into the new year
For 2017 I wish you the strength to learn, the courage to decide, the determination to grow, and... a whole lot more. Read my New Year column from the January 2017 issue of 
right here. (And excuse the fact that I've used an image from 2014.)


Gaurav Gill - Asia Pacific Rally Champion
With two APRC titles under his belt, and a constant desire to improve himself, Gaurav Gill's made big strides. Here he talks of how he survives in the competive world of rallying & his never-ending pursuit for perfection in a rally car. Story in the Jan 2017 issue of 
click right here!

The Happiness Column
A conversation with a motorsport scribe during Le Mans 2012, a snippet from an interview with Mattias Ekstrom & something Walter Röhrl said made it to a column about finding happiness and never letting it go. The piece appeared in the Dec 16 issue of 
Click here to read it online!

Mattias Ekström - 2016 WRX Champion
Mattias Ekström is a philosophical racer, if there ever was one. He spoke to me about how honesty and self-reflection have taken him far in his career, and how hard work has helped him trump talent. All that and more candid observations in the December 2016 issue of 
click right here.

So you like racing?
It's a question that I'm often asked. And sometimes I find that words fail me. How do I explain to people that 
like doesn't even begin to describe it?! I wrote about how motorsport inspires me, drives me, fulfils me, and the ripple effect it's on various aspects of my life. The column is in the November 2016 issue of OVERDRIVE, or you could 
click here to read it.

On Ramji Govindrajan & Sarath Kumar
Sarath Kumar and his mentor Ramji Govindrajan made a promise that they'd never give up. In spite of broken bones, failed contracts, absconding sponsors, they've soldiered on. 
Here's their story on the OVERDRIVE website.

Rayomand Banajee - Indian Racing Champion
Rayo learned to play with the cards he was dealt, refused to ever make excuses, and worked harder than most to win multiple national karting and racing titles. He is an example of what intense self belief can help accomplish. 
Here's his story on OVERDRIVE

Nick Heidfeld - Former F1/Formula E racer
Nick Heidfeld's years of experience in motorsport, especially Formula 1, have made him something of an Obi-Wan Kenobi. No wonder, then, that Mahindra Racing wanted him on board. Here's some of the insightful things he had to say about motorsport and Formula E, written for OVERDRIVE -
click here to read the story.

Petter Solberg - WRC and WRX champion
Petter Solberg is a quick driver - his racing credentials speak for themselves. But he's also a very straight shooter, which makes interviewing him a lot of fun. You can read his very candid interview in OVERDRIVE's June 2016 issue or 
click here!

Remembering Stefan Bellof
I'd always wanted to make a pilgrimage to Stefan Bellof's hometown of Gießen, and speak to someone who had known him. Fortunately for me that someone was his wise brother Georg. 
Our conversation inspired this letter to Stefan.

Driving a KTM X-Bow
I had a field day piloting a KTM X-Bow around the Lausitzring back in October 2015, and while I didn't tame the beast, it taught me a thing or two about driving at a racetrack. You can read all about it my tryst with the X-Bow in the December issue of OVERDRIVEOr right here.

Walter Röhrl - 2-time World Rally Champion
I'd never have believed that it was possible to phone Walter Röhrl, tell him that I wanted to meet him for an interview in his house, and have him agree to it. But that's what happened in March 2015. You can read the story I wrote for OVERDRIVE 
here. And here is the story behind the story.

Niki Lauda - F1 legend

I interviewed Niki Lauda at the Indian GP in 2012, and he regaled me with tales of racing in the Seventies. The story was published in Business Standard Motoring and can be read here. A year later, at the 2013 Indian GP, he spoke to me for OVERDRIVE. Read the story here. 

John McGuinness - IOMTT legend
At the 2013 Macau GP I asked John McGuinness if, as a racer, he ever felt afraid. "All the time," he replied. The full story for OVERDRIVE is right here. That conversation also inspired me to go jump off the Macau Tower. Click here to read why. 

Michael Schumacher - 7-time F1 champion
Growing up, Michael Schumacher was my hero. I count persuading Sabine Kehm into allowing me a 
one-on-one interview with him for BS Motoring as one of the most significant achievements of my career. When Schumi had that dreadful accident a few years later, more writing poured forth. Click here to read it. 

Q'Marri - an Indian racing special
A car arrives at the home of a family in Calcutta. The children are fascinated and they grow up to modify and race that very car at Sholavaram, ensuring it makes it to the podium. This is the story of the Q'Marri, written for OVERDRIVE. Click here to read.

VW Golf R driven on ice
Seven-time German Rally Champion Matthias Kahle decided he had best teach me a think or two about how to drive a clean and fast lap. So on a frozen lake in Arvidsjaur, behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Golf R, I was put through my paces. I drove, I failed, I learned, I wrote

Classic Remise - Berlin
Not a piece of motorsport writing, but the Classic Remise in Berlin is steeped in automotive history. It gave me goosebumps to see so many machines in mint condition, and had such an effect on me that my mind went off on a flight of fancy, allowing me to meet Herr Schmidt.

The indomitable Max and Hanspeter taught me that it all 
lies in the mind. Somender Singh who tinkers away on motorcycles and cars in Mysore taught me that there's no time like now. And watching CS Santosh finish the Dakar Rally in 2015 was a demonstration of the triumph of the human spirit. More opinion pieces and columns for OVERDRIVE right here

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© Vaishali Dinakaran - Writer & Journalist