Harindu excited for new motorsport journey

Saturday 23 March, 2024
Harindu Kalupahana starts his Motorsport Australia Official journey at the 2024 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix
It’s no secret that Drive to Survive has helped grow the profile of Formula 1 around the world, which has resulted in a rise in crowds, participants and volunteer officials.

That’s no different here down under, with a portion of marshals at the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix attending for the first time after watching the popular Netflix series.

And while many Drive to Survive fans are completely new to the world of cars and motorsport when they attend the Australian Grand Prix, that isn’t the case for Harindu Kalupahana.

Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Kalupahana moved to Australia as an international student a few years back and has since graduated university and landed a full-time job.

After watching Drive to Survive by chance last year, Kalupahana became hooked and ended up watching every season within a short period of time, which then became the catalyst for his foray into the sport.

Like many young F1 fans, Kalupahana was determined to get involved in some capacity, and being based in Melbourne, ended up attending the Shannons SpeedSeries, which helped pave the way for his entry.

240323_official“Honestly, I got into the sport by watching Drive to Survive, but I have since met a lot of amazing people, who have become friends and being an official is really cool,” Kalupahana said.

“I am very excited to be here at the Grand Prix, and I have been to a couple of other events, like the Shannons SpeedSeries, which was really cool.

“I hadn’t expected to be a volunteer or didn’t even know you could, but when I came across a poster about being a volunteer at the Shannons SpeedSeries – I saw you could take part and I did, and now I am at the Australia Grand Prix for my first event.

“A big thank you to Aidan and Kimberly of Motorsport Australia for guiding me through the process, which is very easy.I would recommend anyone take it.

“I am a little nervous, but I am excited to do my first event as an official, and my plan is to do all the Shannons SpeedSeries events in Melbourne - especially Phillip Island next month – as well as seeing what else I can do.”

Although his journey into motorsport was inspired by watching the show, Kalupahana isn’t completely new to the automotive world, with the 23-year-old currently driving a sports car. That decision to get involved with volunteering did lead him to meeting a number of fellow car enthusiasts though, who further helped him on his way into the sport.

“First of all, being an official seems like a good opportunity to take part in motorsport and to see how people work in the industry and how it works in general,” Kalupahana added.

“Being an official is more than just a pass though - it's an experience and it’s an opportunity to meet different people from different cultures.

“I am planning to be an official for the long term and then maybe try and get a job in the sport, but I have also joined the BMW Drivers Club Melbourne because I have a good car.

“They have Come and Try days, so I also plan to go to that soon and attend as many events as I can.

“I'm from Sri Lanka and I'm in Melbourne at the moment, but if I had to return back home, I'd still find a way to come back again to Melbourne and participate in motorsport as much as I can because I love it."

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