He’s baffled by the reflex habit of Mumbai motorists to honk without any logic, but road rage isn’t an alien concept at all for Shawn Spiteri. Back home in Malta, street racing is almost a religion for nearly every youngster with a set of wheels, where the local champs command cult followings and competitive rivalries are deadly serious affairs. “If you beat someone in a race, he’ll probably only get back on talking terms with you when he gets even,” smiles the 33-year-old who is considered the pioneer of Drifting in Malta. Currently in Mumbai as a personal guest of Gautam Singhania, he’s trying to soak in a bit of the city sights and sounds before he gets down to business — sharing his skills with a bunch of enthusiasts who will be participating in the Drifting competition being hosted by Gautam this Sunday.
The chairman of the Raymond group has just about got his leg out of a cast, but he’s already raring to burn some rubber on the tracks and perhaps even try some “double drifting” with the Maltese champ. “The number of participants has more than doubled to 25 this year and I’m pretty pleased about that,” beams Gautam who has three more challenges lined up for November, January and March. He’s definitely taking his mission to popularise the sport seriously enough - on the anvil are subsidised Drift cars priced at below Rs 5 lakh. Though Formula 1 is won’t be back before 2015, clearly there’s enough exciting action in store for racing enthusiasts next year.