Meet Nikeetaa Takkale: Pune's 23-Year-Old Sensation In Motorsport Racing

Meet Nikeetaa Takkale: Pune's 23-Year-Old Sensation In Motorsport Racing

Nikeetaa Takkale was raised in Pune and a co-incidental visit to an autocross event got her into the thrilling racing career from a young age

Priyanka ChandaniUpdated: Thursday, October 05, 2023, 03:35 PM IST
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Meet Nikeetaa Takkale: Pune's 23-Year-Old Sensation In Motorsport Racing |

23-year-old rally driver from Pune, Nikeetaa Takkale, has achieved remarkable success in a relatively short span of time. At the age of 21, she entered the world of professional rally driving, and within two years, she has amassed 99 trophies, including the prestigious motorsport award for emerging Indian women in 2022. Nikeetaa's participation as the sole female driver representing India in the upcoming Asian Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) has served as an inspiration to aspiring female drivers, establishing her as one of India's most promising young talents in recent years.

Born and raised in a "not-so-conventional" environment, Nikeetaa explored various career options before discovering her passion for motorsports during a visit to an autocross event in Pune. Her encounter with coach Chetan Shivram at the event ignited her enthusiasm for driving. She recalled, "He encouraged me to try autocross for fun, and I instantly fell in love with it." Motorsport wasn't initially a career choice for Nikeetaa, but her father's encouragement and her newfound fascination with cars changed her trajectory. With about 70 trophies won in a year, she quickly began to make her mark in the sport.



While motorsport is gaining popularity in India, it remains an expensive passion to pursue. Nikeetaa acknowledges this, stating, "It undeniably demands substantial funds, and it's fair to say that this sport is often associated with the affluent. However, what you truly need is the courage and confidence to handle a sports car. I'm optimistic that the sport will become more accessible, allowing many more to participate."

Besides being a qualified cosmetologist and fashion designer, Nikeetaa now dedicates herself to inspiring youth, especially girls, to take up motorsports. She intends to pursue her passion as a career and has set her sights on the World Racing Championship next year, following her participation in the APRC in Indonesia in November. She explained, "I've never been the type to stick with one thing for life. I've constantly made changing decisions, but it's only motorsport that has provided me with the thrill to pursue it long-term. I have many goals to achieve."



While the realm of sports is gradually becoming more inclusive, it still has a long way to go. Nikeetaa emphasises the need for a more inclusive environment, saying, "Motorsport is predominantly male-dominated, but that doesn't faze me. When you compete with men and stand on the podium alongside them, that's how you carve out your space as a woman. You simply need to provide equal competition." Asked whether she has faced additional challenges as a woman in her racing career, she responded, "I've never felt that way. The people who have been part of my journey, my father and trainer, are men, and they have been incredibly supportive. I've never had to do anything I wasn't comfortable with. My aim has always been to excel in whatever I do. That's how I've continued to achieve and will keep doing so."

In her brief but eventful career as a racer, Nikeetaa has learned to embrace victories and come to terms with losses. She stressed the importance of maintaining a positive outlook, saying, "In sports, not everyone can win every day. Some days are yours, and other days belong to someone else. The key is to remain confident that the next day will be yours. What I've gleaned from this sport is the ability to turn any adversity in your favour. I've learned to be more optimistic."

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