Watch Tim's video interview to see some pictures, see a few clips of him racing and to hear Tim talk about out another one his favorite moments on the race track:
After driving his way to the first professional win of his open-wheel racing career over the summer, Tim de Silva pulled into pit row and team members greeted him with the usual winning, post-race congratulations. For Tim, a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College who is on the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's golf team, winning his first Pacific Formula 2000 Series professional race carried a great deal of importance. Winning the race with the crew that his dad, Harindra, had raced with for many years and Tim had grown up around as a kid meant even more.
What meant the most to Tim was winning the race with his dad there to share the moment. Not only did Harindra have the opportunity to see his son win the race, he competed in the event as well and finished two spots behind Tim for a third-place podium finish. It was the first father-son podium finish in the history of the Pacific Formula 2000 Series, according to Tim.
For Tim, moments like his Formula 2000 win with his dad, epitomize why he started racing and why racing has become such an integral part of his life.
"For me this all started because of my dad," Tim said. "Racing has always been something that my dad and I have done together and I very rarely do any races if he's not there driving with me. We drive in very similar classes and get to compete with each other."
Currently, the two are racing in the Pacific Formula 2000 Series, a West Coast semiprofessional series that races at local tracks such as Auto Club Speedway. It is part of what's called the Mazda Road to Indy Car, just a few steps below the Indy Car Series. Tim and Harindra also race vintage cars from the 1960s and '70s and compete on the go-kart circuit from time to time. Over the last year, Tim has competed in about 10 races. Five of those races have come on the go-kart track which is where it all began for Tim, as it does for most competitive drivers.
At around nine years old, Tim's interest in racing began to take shape when his dad started racing vintage cars, similar to the Italian-made 1978 Osella PA8 that Tim drives now. The father-son team also spent nearly every Sunday morning together watching Formula 1 races on television.
As Tim's dad continued to race more, he realized that the best way to hone his skills were not behind the wheel of a vintage car, but rather in a go-kart. So when Tim turned 10 or 11, he and his dad began participating in go-kart racing schools together. Racing school progressed into regional go-kart competition, then national competition and by the time Tim turned 15, he began competing in Formula Mazda racing, which is a semi-professional level of open wheel racing. Tim also sprinkled in a few vintage car races into his competitive racing schedule from time to time.
Tim's development as a driver continued over the years, but one thing always remained constant. He and his dad almost always raced together.
"Racing with my dad is the most fun I have doing anything. I've done some races without my dad and he has done some without me," Tim said. "I'll never forget something he [Tim's dad] said when I went off to college last year. He went and did a go-kart race and called me after, because we always talk after races and he said, 'Man, it wasn't anywhere near as fun without you there.' "
And Tim shares a similar sentiment about racing with his dad.
"When I do a race without him, it's just not the same because we get out of the car and the first thing we do is we run over and we talk to each other about what happened in each other's race," Tim said. "And a lot of times we are racing together. I'm passing him. He's passing me. Our driving skills are very, very close, so it makes it a lot of fun."
Some of the driving skills he utilizes zipping around the course at speeds upward of 150 miles per hour have helped Tim succeed in another one of his favorite sports; golf. Racing and golf are not often mentioned in the same sentence. So you may be asking yourself, what are the connections between the two sports?
"There are actually, surprisingly a lot of correlations between racing and golf," Tim said. "Obviously they are both individual sports. You are part of a team in racing but you are driving for yourself, and in golf you are also part of a team but in reality you only have control over your own game. They also are both sports where there is a very finite and specific sequence of muscles that need to fire in that same sequence over and over and over and over."
Tim also prepares and competes mentally in racing and golf in a similar way.
"Because it [racing] is an individual sport, I can't control the way someone else is going to drive, but I can do my best and see where that puts me and it is the same thing with golf," Tim said. "I can't control what my competitors are doing but I am going to do my best, shoot the best score that I can and at the end of the day, wherever that puts me, that's where I will end up."
Tim's metal approach to both sports has served him well, winning him races as a driver and making him a contributor to the CMS men's golf team, one of the top-ranked golf programs at the NCAA Division III level.
With school in session and the time commitment that is associated with being a successful student-athlete as an economics and math major at one of the nation's top academic institutions, Tim doesn't get to race as much as he did during the summer. But racing is still an activity that he frequently participates in and hopes to for a long time.
"Professionally, it [racing] is not something I am going to pursue because of the time and capital it takes to become a professional driver," Tim said. "I really enjoy racing and golf, but I don't want to make my living doing either of those sports."
Instead, he wants to earn his degree from CMC and continue to play golf for the Stags. Once he graduates, he hopes to land a job where he can earn enough money to support himself while continuing to play golf for fun and, of course, race with dad.
After all, racing without his dad and his dad without him just wouldn't be the same. It never is.