New Delhi: Bengaluru’s Yash Aradhya became the first Indian motorsports star to win the prestigious Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar Award in New Delhi on Wednesday (January 22). Yash received the award at a grand ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan from President Ram Nath Kovind.

The 17-year-old, who has been scorching race tracks ever since he turned nine, has 13 Championship wins, including over 65 podium finishes and 12 awards, to his credit.

The Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar is India’s highest civilian honour bestowed upon exceptional students from various fields under the age of 18. Yash, along with the 49 other talented kids who have been hand-picked by an elite panel set up by the Union ministry of women and child development, will also meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi before they take part in the Republic Day Parade on January 26.

“I thank the Government of India for considering me worthy of this award and humbly accept it. It is a great honour to receive the award from the Honorable President of India and to meet the Honorable Prime Minister of India. I have been working really hard and after attaining considerable success at both international and national circuit, it really is very gratifying to be bestowed with this recognition,” Yash said shortly after receiving the award.

 “While I have had my share of success on the grid in the past few years this award will remain always special as this is not an achievement for me but for the whole fraternity. This award will inspire other young enthusiasts and they will push themselves more as they now would know that their achievement will be recognised,” he added.

Coming from a humble background and no family history in motorsports, it has been a long and tough ride for Yash. He started his career in the JK Tyre National Go-karting Championship eight years back, racing for Akbar Ebrahim’s Meco Motorsports, and has steadily moved up, eventually making it to Formula Racing. 

He has taken part in international championships too, including the CIK FIA Academy Trophy in 2015 in Spain, Belgium and France. He was also nominated by FMSCI to represent India in the Rotax World Finals in 2017 to race in Portugal. In 2019, took part in the FIA Motorsport Games held at Rome. 

Yash debuted in the Formula-4 South East Asia Championship in the 2019 season and claimed first 2 podium finishes to underline his talent.