RAC­ING

Jamaica Gleaner - - AU­TO­MO­TIVES -

and MoTuned. His in­tro­duc­tion to rac­ing, he said, came as a re­sult of fam­ily in­flu­ence.

“I got started in rac­ing through my par­ents. My mom, Lisa Bow­man Lee, was fe­male cham­pion, and my dad, Paul An­thony Lee, was Mod­i­fied Pro­duc­tion class cham­pion.” The young racer of­ten trains with his dad in the Subaru Im­preza STI Type R that he takes to the track for events.

Lee’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in cir­cuit rac­ing is also in­flu­enced by his par­ents and his own ar­dent love of the sport. “My par­ents used to do it, and I’ve been watch­ing For­mula One (F1) since I was a kid. That is the pin­na­cle of cir­cuit rac­ing, and I al­ways loved it ever since my mom and dad were do­ing it,” he said.

Some of the thrills of be­ing a racer, said Lee, are ex­pe­ri­enced when he is in a com­pe­ti­tion. “It’s thrilling to know that I can go fast and ac­tu­ally com­pete against other peo­ple and beat them,” he said.

The adren­a­line rush that he gets from be­ing on the track is some­thing else that Lee loves about mo­tor­sport. “When you get to the track, first, you have all these emo­tions, like fear, and you start think­ing, ‘Am I go­ing to let peo­ple down?’ or ‘Am I go­ing to let my­self down?’ When you go out on the track, ev­ery­thing just dis­ap­pears. The adren­a­line gets you through all of that, and you just con­cen­trate on try­ing to get to the front and try­ing to drive your lines per­fectly. It’s just an amaz­ing feel­ing!

“Pas­sion is what drives you in rac­ing,” he ex­plained.

And it is with pas­sion that Lee seems to man­age chal­lenges that come with rac­ing, in­clud­ing be­ing a fi­nal-year me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing ma­jor while also pro­fes­sion­ally rac­ing at events. “The most chal­leng­ing part is re­ally time man­age­ment. You have to set aside your time to ded­i­cate to the car, to prac­tice and just to the track and rac­ing in gen­eral. Once you have time man­age­ment down, you’re good to go.”

The young racer looks up to other fig­ures in mo­tor­sport largely be­cause of their pas­sion for the sport. In terms of in­ter­na­tional rac­ing fig­ures, Lee pin­points for­mer Brazil­ian driver and three-time F1 cham­pion Ayr­ton Senna da Silva as one who stands out to him most. “He had great pas­sion. He was un­break­able on the track and ev­ery­thing that a true racer should be.” He also looks up to rac­ing fig­ures such as his par­ents, as well as the likes of David Sum­mer­bell Jr and Doug ‘Hol­ly­wood’ Gore. “Those guys drove by pas­sion and mo­ti­vated me to ac­tu­ally want to be­come a pro­fes­sional racer.”

BE­ING A YOUNG RACER AMONG LIVELY COM­PE­TI­TION

When asked about com­pe­ti­tion in light of be­ing a young racer among a quickly bur­geon­ing group of young Ja­maican rac­ers, Lee gave some in­sight on how he views his com­pe­ti­tion: “The way I look at my com­pe­ti­tion is that as they get bet­ter, I get bet­ter. If I am beat­ing them and they don’t get bet­ter, then both of us are ac­tu­ally fail­ing as rac­ers be­cause I am sup­posed to help them to get bet­ter so that I can get bet­ter and we both keep im­prov­ing. I look at it as a friend­ship off-track and a ri­valry on-track.”

In terms of be­ing on the track, Lee views him­self as a cal­cu­lat­ing racer, fo­cus­ing on tac­tics and not­ing any faults on which to im­prove for later per­for­mance.

As the holder of quite a few rac­ing ti­tles for 2018, Lee’s tac­tics seem to be work­ing well so far. He dom­i­nated the IP2 class in Dover’s 2018 He­roes of Speed event de­spite hav­ing an in­ci­dent in the first lap of the IP2 race. The racer de­scribes get­ting over such in­ci­dents on the track by sim­ply fo­cus­ing on the de­sire to win: “You have to just for­get what hap­pened pre­vi­ously and con­cen­trate on

driv­ing all your lines per­fectly. Just keep try­ing to do per­fect laps ev­ery lap.” Lee came out of Oc­to­ber’s big­gest rac­ing event as the IP2 cham­pion and the MP4 cham­pion, as well as the He­roes of speed meet cham­pion for IP.

FU­TURE PLANS FOR RAC­ING

Rac­ing is def­i­nitely a big part of the fu­ture for Matthew Lee, both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. On the con­cept of in­ter­na­tional rac­ing, Lee stated, “It is on the ta­ble. Next year, we’re hop­ing to en­ter the Ja­maican leg of the Caribbean Mo­tor Rac­ing Cham­pi­onship (CMRC), and in 2020, we want to ex­tend more into the Caribbean. For now, the main fo­cus is lo­cal and mov­ing into the CMRC, which is re­gional. But def­i­nitely, in the fu­ture, the hope is to get to in­ter­na­tional rac­ing.” His next time on the track will be on Fe­bru­ary 27, 2019, at Jamwest Speed­way. Prepa­ra­tions have al­ready be­gun.

Matthew Lee and his cousin Jay­den Mighty.

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