The Thrill of the Race

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By: Jamie Etheridge 

At 16 years old, Fahad Al Gosaibi became the younger race car driver ever to race in a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge. Now at 22, the recent graduate continues racing while also preparing for his first Iron Man and his new role at a Japanese bio-tech firm. In an exclusive interview with Knot Standard, the now 22 year old Saudi racer shares his view on motorsports, triathlons, competition and embracing life and style.

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Knot Standard: Can you give us a little background? How did you get into racing?

Fahad Al Gosaibi: My father has always had a strong passion towards motorsports, and it’s something he passed on to me from a very young age. As my interest increased, he encouraged and fully supported me to get into karting, the grass-roots of motorsports. That’s when I began to experience the thrill of wheel-to-wheel racing, and nothing has been the same ever since. Our timing also couldn’t have been better. The Bahrain International Circuit had been completed around 2004 and that strongly pushed us to move into the world of circuit racing. Since then, I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to progress through car racing at various national and international levels. I got into racing with full credit to the support of my father, and for that I am extremely grateful – I couldn’t have done it without him.

KS: What led you to the sport and why do you do it?

Al Gosaibi: I race cars because, more than anything else, it makes me feel alive; completely immersed in the present moment. When I’m in a race, the world fades away and nothing matters but the upcoming corner. That thrill of being extremely close (and sometimes slightly over) the limit is a sensation words simply can’t describe. Of course, it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. I’ve had my fair share of mistakes, crashes, and damage, but that only makes the upcoming victory that much more rewarding.

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KS: You are the youngest driver ever to compete in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge. What did that feel like?

Al Gosaibi: Looking back to when I was 16 years old, competing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, I was extremely anxious and fearful, to say the least. The GT3 Cup car is notorious for being one of the most difficult race-cars to handle. Also, it was a lot more powerful and heavy that any machine I’d raced previously. It was definitely a daunting task initially, but like any challenge, I was excited to take it on. Initially, my age proved to be a disadvantage as the pressure of the race took its toll on me and affected my performance, however, as I gained some experience, my young age, fitness, and rapid reflexes made me a fierce competitor.

KS: Name your top three cars to drive.

1. A Formula-1 car. I’ve had the privilege to able to drive one last year and it was an experience I will never forget.

2. The Porsche GT3 Cup. This choice is a maybe a bit biased and sentimental but it’s a car I absolutely love. It’s challenging to drive at the limit but extremely rewarding.

3. This one is street-legal. The Toyota GT86. You simply won’t understand till you drive one. Such a well-engineered, beautiful, and balanced rear-wheel-drive car that will put a huge smile on your face. Great for drifting.

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KS: How is your fashion or style influenced by your sports?

Al Gosaibi: My fashion is surely somewhat influenced by sports, but culture plays a big role as well. I usually seek simplicity and comfort. My go to dress wear when I’m in the Middle East is always a traditional thoub.

KS: What makes you a strong competitor? Do you seek out competition in other aspects of your life as well?

Al Gosaibi: I’m a strong competitor because I’m extremely hungry and driven. I strongly believe that competition is a powerful tool, and seek it out in all aspects of my life, only if it is healthy competition. Certain forms of competitive become destructive and leaves all involved parties better off. It’s important to be able to distinguish between the two.

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KS: What are your plans for the future?

Al Gosaibi: I’ve just recently accepted an offer to work as a business developer in a Japanese bio-technology company called Spiber. I’m highly anticipating living in Japan and excited to be working on something that has the potential to change the world.

Learn more about Al Gosaibi on his blog, www.fahadlee.com or Instagram @fahad_algosaibi