Next Sikh motorsport prodigy? An interview with Ceran Singh Sokhi
Interview conducted by Tom Evans, Edited by Ishani Aziz
Ceran is a 21 one year old Sikh motorsport driver. Who aims to be racing in the GB4/Italian F4 championships in the near future after missing several years of crucial racing experience. We sat down for a quick chat a few weeks ago.
TE: So Ceran, tell us a bit about yourself and how you initially got into the deep world that is motorsport?
CSS: Hello, I’m Ceran Singh Sokhi and I’m 21 from Bristol. A little bit about me, aside from my passion for racing, I love making music remixes and I do like gaming when I get the time. I got into racing from going on holiday to Cyprus in 2011, I saw a go-kart track after we went to a water park and that’s how my love for racing started. The karts we had had no protective body panels, it was just a chassis and engine. I was in flip flops and a bike helmet with goggles!
TE: So, I've found a bit online about you being drafted into the McLaren performance academy in 2014. Interestingly you seem to have left, or given it up at some point since then. Is there a particular reason for that?
CSS: The reason for leaving McLaren Performance academy was due to funding. I achieved being in the top three and McLaren wanted me back for another year to fully be part of their driver development program.
TE: You've yet to compete in a single seater racing campaign, but you have done numerous tests in British F3 (GB3) machinery.
Your first was in 2019 with Chris Dittman Racing, and you've done several more tests with them in 2020 and 2021. Could you give us some insight on how getting and completing a test day works?
CSS: When my karting career ended in 2017, I was out of the game for two years. Karting ended because we lost the championship by being taken out and racial abuse. For those two years of no racing, I was working as well as studying at college to not think about racing but it was hard. Knowing I was not racing was tough, my physical and mental performance dropped drastically and I put on weight.
TE: It was April 2019 and my father got in touch with CDR to potentially look at Formula 4. However CDR did British Formula 3 and they invited us down to meet them and see the cars and to build a relationship from there. Seeing the cars boosted my morality and I gained my racing mentality back. From that point onwards I was doing driver development simulator sessions every other week with them. It came to November that year and I had my first two F3 tests which my family and I worked hard for.
CSS: Completing a test day is very intense. The way it works is I would go out in the car and get used to how the car feels on the circuit. I would then push where I feel confident and try to know my limits of what the car can do and what I can do. After a session I would then go in for a debrief and talk to my driver coach and chief engineer to do data analysis on what my good points are and where I can improve. The process is the same throughout the day and we would work on setup as well as my own abilities to make it work.
TE: Would you say that your first test was a positive experience overall, and what did you learn from it?
CSS: My first test was amazing and very positive. Considering not doing any form of racing from my last kart race which was 2017. I shocked the team on how well I adapted and how I improved drastically. I ended up beating their top driver’s time by one second my first day and it was torrential weather conditions as it was at Pembrey in Wales.
TE: Earlier this year you did a GB3 test with Fortec Motorsport. Being your second one you were much more up to pace for this one. Was it a similar or different experience to test with a different team?
CSS: Deciding to switch teams was something we wanted to do to see if I move forward or not. I am still very grateful for CDR for taking me on in my early days of F3 and for working with them. I started to work with Fortec early this year and it was a thrilling experience and change of atmosphere. My first test with them in February was my best test to date. I improved by 4 seconds throughout the day and Oliver Dutton who is the Team Principal and Richard Dutton who is the owner mentioned to me “If you had another day in the car, you would have gone another two to three seconds faster” they were really happy with my progression.
TE: I've seen you pictured doing sim work at Fortec's simulator facility. How much does SIM work help you to prepare for the real thing?
CSS: Sim work helps a lot more than what it seems. It’s all about learning the different techniques and a lot of data analysis involved. I love doing SIM work as I always want to learn new techniques and how I can further improve on my abilities behind the wheel.
TE: Have you got any more tests planned for this year?
CSS: My family and I are working hard to get another couple of tests this year and I’m hopeful to do a race weekend this year to get my name and brand out there.
TE: And finally, what kind of series do you hope to compete in the near future?
CSS: In the near future our eyes are on the BRDC GB4 as well as hopefully Italian F4.