By Gureni Lukwaro
American University of Sharjah (AUS) is proud of, among other things, the diverse backgrounds of its student body. The university has students from more than 90 different countries around the world. But this diversity is not only confined to its students’ nationalities; it extends to other areas of life, especially in the variety of skills and talents the students bring into play both inside and outside the classroom.
L'Emir Mohamed Chehab, a mechanical engineering student at American University of Sharjah, is a good example of how AUS students strive for excellence in all they do. A motorsports enthusiast and a professional rally race car driver, Chehab has won a variety of accolades in the sport.
At the age of 18, Chehab has managed to not only compete in organized races where renowned drivers compete, but also to do well in those races. During the Emirates Motorsports Club’s First Rallycross held on April 24, 2015 in Sharjah, he won a podium spot by winning first place in the Junior Buggy category and also came in third overall winner of the race. The race was highly competitive, with famous drivers such as UAE Rally Driver Champion Sheik Abdulla Bin Faisal Al Qassimi and Lebanese veteran champion Michael Saleh taking part.
“I love racing and I have been racing a long time. I like regular car races, karting, autocross, drifting, rallying and rallycross,” says Chehab. “And I am good at it. Every time I participate, I aim to win or at least attain a podium position.”
Chehab has also performed well in five other races in recent months. In December, he was Third Overall Winner at the Toyota Yaris Cup and Novice Class Winner at the UAE Motoplex 24 Hours Endurance 4x4 Rally. In January, he won the UAE Autocross in All Wheel Drive and Rear Wheels Drive Stock categories. He was Novice Class Winner at the Sharjah Rally 2015 in February. In March, he was the Overall Winner and First Category Winner of the ADNEC Drift.
According to Chehab, doing well in motorsports is a combination of good performance of the car you are driving and the skills of the driver.
“My father is also into motorsports and he understands race cars. He and other people with him work hard to ensure that the cars I use for races are optimized for the highest performance and they do a good job at that. After the team has enhanced the highest performance of the car, the next big challenges are the skills and driving techniques that I have to implement to win. I constantly spend time practicing and learning from others to improve my skills because I want to be even better than I am now,” said Chehab. “But the absolutely most important thing is safety. Safety is very important, so as a driver I ensure my own safety, the safety of other drivers, as well as that of the fans who come to watch the races and cheer us on. Safety is the first and foremost step to success.”
Asked how he manages to find time for studies and motorsports, Chehab said that time management is key. “I have to manage my time so that I do well in all of my classes and make time for practice and races. I have a good support team and so far so good.”
He chose mechanical engineering as his major to better understand the mechanical aspects of the vehicles he uses.
Chehab aims to continue with the sport and make his mark in motorsports both within the region and beyond. “The only challenge I have right now is sponsorship. I am looking for individual or corporate sponsors who can help me do even better and take my skills to the next level. Sponsorships provide me with the opportunity to continue doing what I love.”