FLORIDA: British-Pakistani driver Enaam Ahmed has made history as he became the first driver carrying the Pakistani flag to stand on the podium of the very competitive ‘Road to Indy’ ladder.
The 22-year-old started his 2022 season on a high note in the Indy Pro 2000 series by taking second place in the opening round of the season, held in Florida on the streets of St Petersburg.
Enaam qualified for the 25-laps race on the front row. American driver Josh Green established an early 3 second lead from pole position. Lap by lap his lead was reduced by Enaam, and by lap 16 he was within striking distance when the chequered flag came out, he was only 6 seconds behind Green.
Speaking to this correspondent about the race, Enaam expressed his experience of the first race of the season: “Very, very happy to be top three in the first race. I was the quickest on track in the race but unfortunately, it’s really difficult to pass because it’s a street circuit, but really happy to start the season like this, and also the team gave me a really good car which I’m really happy about and we kept in one piece.”
Enaam, whose parents live in Central London but he lives between UK and USA, said that the American racing landscape is unique. He said: “No other series in the world offers racing on a variety of tracks as in the US: from racing tracks (Road America and Mid-Ohio) to street circuits (St Petersburg and Toronto) to high-speed ovals in Indianapolis and Madison, near St Louis, Missouri. There are 18 races in 2022 and the season will conclude in Portland, Oregon in September.”
Enaam shared that he is focused on the big picture and winning the championship. “I think I have a very high chance of winning as long as I play my cards right and I’m always there with my pace. Thanks to everyone supporting me, the more support I get, it pushes me to go faster and gives me a lot of encouragement so thank you very much. I really like my fans in Pakistan to follow my career, my journey through American racing through my Instagram and Twitter handle.”
Enaam, the 2017 British Formula 3 Champion has been a race winner all over the world from Europe to Japan and New Zealand. After a brief foray into the American racing scene last year, Enaam has joined championship-winning team Juncos Hollinger Racing for this season.
Team owner Ricardo Juncos, who hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, expressed confidence in his young charge saying: “We are excited to continue our work with Enaam into the 2022 Indy Pro 2000 season. He really showed how strong of a driver he is at the end of last season when he almost won the final race, if he had one more lap, we are confident he would have come away with the victory.
Enaam has been a great addition to our program and we are looking forward to carrying the strong momentum we have built in the off-season.”
Enaam intends to visit Pakistan in three months to meet his fans and interact with a few clubs that run small-scale sports racing projects.
“I want to work with Pakistanis who are interested in high-end racing. This is a growing market and the new generation loves it,” he said.