Adrenaline Junkie - Akhil Khushlani talks with You & I

Afamiliar name in the racing fraternity and one of the very few Hyderabadis who made it big in the field, Akhil Khushlani is a racer who spent over 15 years of his life in motorsport. Although he has retired from professional racing, he indulges in hobby driving and riding every now and then. As he says, you can take out the racing from him, but you can never take out the racer in him.

Having inherited a passion for bikes from his father, who was himself a bike rider in his younger days, Akhil currently owns three high-end bikes. His current favourite? The Avanturaa Choppers Rudra! Read on to know more about his passion...

From a passion for four-wheelers in the past to two-wheelers now, what brought about the shift?
I am passionate about all kinds of automobiles. The first automobile I ever drove was a mini bike, as a hobby of course, after which I started driving go karts and single seater cars, and this went on to becoming a profession. My first race was when I was nine years old, at Runway 9, where I won the under 12 and under 16 category, and also came second overall in the open class category.

I’ve always been interested in two-wheelers as well, but since I started driving four-wheelers professionally, I stuck to it. However, ever since I hung up my boots, I started riding two wheelers, but only as a hobby.

What is your favourite vehicle?

In terms of four-wheelers I like the R34 GT-R Nissan Skyline,
and in two-wheelers my current obsession is the Avanturaa Choppers Rudra.

And what bikes do you currently ride?
My currently line-up is the Ducati Diavel, Avanturaa Choppers Rudra, and the Triumph Explorer—all three are great to ride.

What made you give up motorsport?
I was part of motorsport for majority of my life, but     a few years ago my family and I took a collective decision to give it up as I had to take on the responsibility other businesses. However you can take out the racing from me, but you can’t take out the racer in me (smiles). Although I don’t professionally race anymore, I’ve been involved in hobby riding and driving. I go for rides along with my dad and some like-minded friends quite often.

Who is your mentor? 
My father, Dinesh Khushlani. He himself was a rider in his younger days, so I guess I get the passion for motorsport from him.

What do you miss most about professional racing? 
The adrenaline rush! The thrill of driving a fast car on a racing circuit and competing with other drivers is like no other. You have to feel it to believe it!

If given a chance to get back to professional racing, what category would you choose? 
Some form of GT series.

Who is your favourite motorsport driver?
Ayrton Senna. He is regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time, and his track record truly inspired me during my racing days.     --- as told to Niharika