My job in racing... Race Director
Motorsport.com met Manoj Dalal in Chennai in his role as race director for the Madras Motor Sports Club Indian National Racing Championship.
Dalal is a former rally co-driver who competed with Vicky Chandhok and has been the National champion. For many years, he has been with the MMSC and has been the Race Director for many National and international events.
My job is:
My job is to see that regulations are in place, safety is in place, officials are well trained and in their places. Maybe at the end of it, I get credit but it is all teamwork. With one link breaking, the whole system collapses. All the people who are involved play an important role.
What is your typical weekend programme?
We start with documentation, we ensure that all the documents are correct. The Formula cars don’t have any papers but we have road cars racing. We make sure the ownership is correct. We also check the FMSCI racing licence. There is the competitor licence. So, one either competes as an individual or with a team. We have pre-event scrutiny checks on Thursdays. We check the safety of the car, whether the roll cage is correct, whether the nuts and bolts are all in place, whether the seat belts are properly mounted, whether the seats are good. Then comes the driver’s attire, right from the inners to the gloves, shoes, HANS, suit. All this is checked.
On Friday, there are two practice sessions for every class. On Saturday morning, we have qualifying for all of them. Then, we have about one-third of the races on Saturday. On Sunday, we have six to eight races to be run.
My day usually begins by giving a pep talk to the marshals. We have to ensure each of them picks up the right equipment. Right from organising lunch, transport from their homes to the track and back. Then, we have to ensure that the fire equipment is in place. Then there are other things like brooms and sawdust for oil on the track, then cutters, glass breaking equipment. There is also an incident report form. My team and I have to ensure everything is in place, even the smallest thing like a whistle.
What is the most important part of your job?
The most important thing is getting the entire team together.
Three tools essential for my job…
For a successful event, you need good timing, good scrutiny, good secretary of the meet. But I can’t leave out the marshals.
People I am constantly in touch with…
Firstly, it is the marshals because without them, the race cannot go on smoothly. We need at least two experienced marshals in each post.
When I’m away from motorsport…
I used to run a successful construction business. Formula 1 came to India and my business took a backseat. The team from Madras, Farhan Vohra, Amit Arora, Prabha Shankar, Jaswant Singh, myself and headed by Vicky Chandhok had to visit Delhi quite often. That is when my business began to take a backseat. I think at some age, passion takes over.
What is your hobby?
I love holidaying and travelling. But motorsport is by hobby too. I used to play good cricket. My wife was a cricketer too. Cricket took a backseat when I started getting involved in motorsport.
What does motorsport mean to you?
If you ask my family, they will say it means everything to Manoj Dalal. Maybe if I was not in motorsport at this age, I would have sat at home and read books. But, it is everything to me. For me, motorsport is a 24 hours a day and seven days a week thing.
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