Suhel Suleman

Interview by Peter Burns - Asia Motorsport Development

Interview by Peter Burns - Asia Motorsport Development

Can you tell me about your background, where do you come from and why did you choose TOC?

My name is Suhel Suleman, and I come from Kenya in Africa. I chose TOC because cars have been my number one priority since day one. My Dad has a car business, so growing up with that gave me this interest in cars and racing.  I first saw TOC online and it seemed to be the best automotive college in Malaysia.  I am studying in Malaysia because in Kenya there is no automotive schools. So my reasons for choosing TOC was that it was in Malaysia and its working out cheaper, so that is why I came here.

I joined Caterham because it is like one step towards my goal and it lets me actually feel what motorsport is like in real life. So this is number one and number two is the experience I’m getting from it.  This experience I can’t really explain what it is like in words, but it’s a feeling that you get.

Caterham is all about the racing. I have always wanted to be a racer, but because it’s a bit expensive now I’m not looking at it right now. But to just to go out there at the track you get the feeling of how Caterham works, with the racing, servicing the cars, everything should be on time and everything should be perfect. This is my feeling and it is taking me closer to my goal. For my training process this is one great opportunity I’ve got.

You’ve answered about three questions in that, which is good! So what have you learnt that will really benefit you?

What I have learnt so far from Caterham is time management, which is very crucial and very important.  Also the normal servicing work for the Caterham cars which is also very important for what I’m doing, such as torqueing the wheels and checking the tyre pressures. 

How do you think that this experience will benefit you in the future?

Oh it will benefit me a lot because Caterham is known worldwide, so having Caterham on my CV will help me finding a job in the future. With this experience I can eventually become a racer and all of these things can help me.

To turn it around the other way, how has the education you have received from TOC benefitted you when working on a race weekend?

To be honest there is not so much I have learnt about motorsport in the first year, although I know that in future years I will learn more in TOC.  In the first year it is a combination of DMS and DMT and there is not a lot you can learn about race cars in the first year. But this is where Caterham comes in because it is giving me a boost and what to expect in the future. Working to time, pressure, this is what I get from Caterham.

How did you find working under pressure?

Me personally, I work much better under pressure, that is when concentrate fully and I do my job better when I work under pressure

That is exactly what racing is all about. The hardest thing is when someone who is learning academically is thrown into a racing situation. It is about working operationally in a stressful environment and it can be very difficult, and you either sink or swim!  So what are your career aspirations, what would you like to be doing in 10 or 20 years time?

My ambition is to become a race driver. That is the goal once I’ve made my money, because to become a race driver you need money!   That is the final goal, but before that I want to work as a technician for a company or a race team, helping to be at the race track, getting things done and be the main technician for a good company.

You are in your first year now, but what do you see as your next step after TOC?

Once I have finished at TOC, obviously I will be applying for jobs. Mostly I will be applying to race teams, working on race cars, modifications, all of that which I can gain experience from.

And in which countries do you think?

There are a lot of countries, but I haven’t really thought about that right now.  But I suppose the UK would be my first priority, but not yet confirmed.  

Are you going to come back and join Caterham for another race meeting?

Yes, definitely, I’ll be at every race I can.

That’s very good, thank you very much Suhel and good luck with your future.