Amit Benjamin

Group motoring editor

Amit wanted to be the lead guitarist for Guns n Roses, a computer game programmer, a race driver and an automotive designer at different stages in his life. Then, after reading one too many car magazines, the perks of being a motoring journalist dawned on him, and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history. Even though he spent the first five years of his career largely doing boring non-car stuff for various newspapers, the last 12 have been purely as a motoring hack. As you’ve probably noticed, he currently edits one of the best automotive publications in the country.

Sony Thomas

Deputy editor

Sony grew up in India at a time when drivers had the luxury of choosing between a Hindustan Ambassador or a Premier Padmini, and the only place to spot exotics were bedroom walls. No wonder then that he still thinks it takes three boxes to make a proper car. He drives a Camry and his favourite car in the whole wide world is a Jag. Yet he’s not a sexagenarian, although as far as journalistic experience goes, he is. As deputy editor, he’s like a wheels uncle, representing the shred of responsibility and wisdom that nobody else on the team seems to have.

Dejan Jovanovic

Special contributor

After learning to speak by reciting model names of cars rolling down the street below, Dejan learned to drive on a donkey, clutching a steering wheel out of a wrecked Opel Rekord and with imagination playing a big part. Dejan then quickly progressed to things with actual wheels, including ‘his’ first vehicle he got at 11; a Fiat tractor. A lifetime of driving passion eventually ended up with a hope of an engineering degree, but a hateful science teacher put an end to that. He took the easy way out and became a journalist working in the field for the last 13 years, and with cars specifically since 2007.

Imran Malik

Features writer

Imran is muscle car mad. You can’t really blame him for being fixated with those colourful Seventies yank tanks — they’re a rare sight around the tiny streets of London, where he grew up watching Burt Reynolds on the telly out-running the law in Smokey and the Bandit…Over 1,000 times. He hasn’t been the same since GM shut Pontiac down. That’s probably why he never lets anyone else within 10 yards of his two beautiful Firebirds. He began his career as a sports journalist over 16 years ago and has been an integral part of wheels magazine for the last seven years.

Kinan Al Habbal

Web content editor

Kinan is a car buff with a vast collection of car magazines amassed over the last 20 years. As online content editor of wheels, he has a keen eye for detail when it comes to editing and specifications of cars. He is also a qualified mechanical engineer, with specialisation in automobiles. While he has nothing against supercars, he thinks the most important aspect of a car is its reliability. We forgive his choice of personal car, a 2015 Kia Optima, because he’s the nicest person in the world and the car has loads of rear legroom.

Fadi Takieddine

Arabic editor

The love of cars and the thrills of being behind the wheel of fast cars, prompted Fadi to leave a successful career in human resources management and become to be a full-time automotive journalist. Fadi believes you can’t operate in any field without having a distinctive opinion about that specific area. So he doesn’t shy away from professing his love and admiration for Italian cars, specifically Ferrari. Despite the considerable experience gained in the world of journalism, Fadi still sees himself as that boy infatuated by cars, and takes special care to make sure that passion doesn’t give way to professional monotony.

GUEST JUDGES

Alex Hirschi aka supercarblondie

Supercar Vlogger

Trying to tear through the cliché that women are only good for posing next to cars, Alex is a keen petrolhead and self confessed supercar lover. It’s not coffee that wakes her up in the morning, it’s the sight of the latest supercar in her parking space. Speed bumps are the bane of her life and is happiest when she’s first position at the lights.

For Alex a car is not about just getting from A to B; it’s how much she enjoys getting there that matters. Besides her supercar Instagram and Youtube channel she also hosts a popular drive time show on the radio in Dubai.

Alex also believes no car should be driven with shoes on… don’t ask us.

Tim Ansell

Industry veteran and former rally driver

Industry veteran, holds both a car and truck license, previously held an FIA International Rally license, and is currently training for his motor-cycle license. He has just taken delivery of a custom built 6x6 overland expedition truck which he designed himself, and will be driving home to England, on his own, around the entire African continent for 18 months. Yes he is mad, yes we are jealous.

In addition to writing for wheels, Tim is the Emirates Desert Championship’s official photographer, and a former member of the F1 recovery team at Yas Marina, In his spare time… are you kidding, he has no spare time!

Dr Gary Hartstein

Former F1 medical delegate

Gary has spent years being driven in some of the most desirable cars in the world around some of the most well-known circuits in the world. An anaesthetist in Abu Dhabi, he worked in Formula 1 as “Prof” Sid Watkins’ assistant for eight years, and then as medical lead in the series for another eight, spending half his adult life in the FIA Medical Car. Like any male, he’s confident he does two things superbly, one of which is driving.

Gautam Sharma

Veteran motoring journalist

Gautam’s love for cars began before he had even taken delivery of his first pedal-powered hotrod at age three. The affinity for all things wheeled only grew stronger in later years, so much so that he spent far more time with his nose in his father’s collection of car mags than his school books. Somehow scraping through school and university, Gautam realised a childhood dream by getting a break in motoring journalism in 1998 after banging down the doors of nearly every auto publishing house in Australia. He has subsequently honed his craft by working across a vast array of motoring publications and websites in Australia and the UAE. He’s rather handy behind the wheel of a car, too.