29 May The Hot Forty: Mohammad Al Mutawaa
Like most young boys, Mohammad Al Mutawaa had a passion for sports when he was growing up, first in Morocco and later in Ras Al Khaimah. “Other than racing, one of my hobbies when I was younger was of course football. I love sports that are extreme; I also love to snowboard and go dune bashing,” he says now.
Al Mutawaa always had a passion and respect towards cars and motoring in general. His first taste of racing, as all young boys, came from video games such as Gran Tourismo. His first time in a kart was at the age of seven, and at the age of 15 he decided to join his older brother Khalid Al Mutawaa racing karts. “The time I joined my brother is when it got serious. I can’t thank him enough for what he did, without him, I would have started racing when I was older which would have probably given me a disadvantage.”
Al Mutawaa springboarded onto the racing scene in a 2006 talent hunt, when HSBC and the Dubai Autodrome got together to cultivate young motor sport talent in the UAE. Chosen from 700 applicants, Al Mutawaa says it wasn’t an easy ride. “I would say it was tough, there are a lot of skilful young Emirati drivers out there, however, not all of them have the willpower to go big. [But] as they say, where there is a will there is a way.”
Ten years from now, he hopes for big things. “I believe that with the right kind of support I will reach the Formula One within the next six years and by the tenth year I hope to be a world champion at least twice,” he says. He wants to be able to raise the UAE flag at international races across the world and show people that there are Emirati race drivers who have the capacity and talent to compete at an international scale.
Already a role model to young people, he is wise beyond his years. “Never give up, you need the willpower to succeed and build your skills that can not be obtained without pure determination,” he says when asked what message he has for his fans. “If you had a bad race day, think about your mistakes and learn from them. And last but not least, don’t risk other peoples lives by speeding on public roads; there are purpose-built race tracks and track days where you can do whatever you like with ambulances, paramedics and safety marshals who constantly monitor and can respond immediately if required.”
So what does someone who represents the future of racing drive when not strapped into a race car? Al Mutawaa replies, “I recently turned 18 and got my license and I currently drive a 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser that has been with the family for 17 years; it’s almost as old as me, and I keep it very clean and it’s still stock.” But in his dream garage, he says, if he had to narrow it down to five cars, “they would be the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, the Pagini Zonda Cinque, the Bentley Arnage Final Series, the Koenigsegg Agera R and the Lamborghini Reventón.”
Originally posted in Gulf News, 12th November 2011.