Although motorsports is still male-dominated, never-say-die Leona Chin aims to break the glass ceiling for the fairer sex.
HOMEGROWN motorsports athlete Leona Chin can identify with Ralliart’s slogan “The Spirit of Competition”. The gutsy lass with a sweet smile and bubbly personality is hoping to level up in her career by breaking into GT racing this year.
“I hope to take my motorsports career to the next level, by joining the Audi R8 LMS Cup. However, this will need lots of funding and we are sourcing for sponsors,” said the finance graduate who hails from Subang Jaya.
Leona is buoyed by her second place overall finish in her debut appearance in the Renault Clio Cup China Series 2016, a one-make race organised by FRD Motorsports with races in China, Thailand and Korea.
She ventured into motorsports when she was 20 and quickly became known as “girl drifter”.
In the past 10 years, Leona has joined various endurance, rallying, drifting and circuit races and her achievements include first place finishes in the 2013 International Rally of Perlis (Class 5) and 2015 Southern Thailand Gymkhana (Ladies Class).
In the 2015 Caterham Motorsports Asia Championship in SIC, Leona also came in second and third place forr Round 6 and 9 respectively.
Leona also became an ambassador for Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia last year after starring in the famous “Sales Girl Drifts Customers in Pickup Truck” prank video which garnered more than 6.2 million views on YouTube.
In the hilarious video, Leona played a “dumb” car showroom salesgirl who gave male customers an unforgetable drift ride in a Mitsubishi Tritton pick-up truck.
More recently, Leona also starred in another video for Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia, where the Tritton pulls a 31-tonne CAT 769D dump truck.
“I am proud of representing Mitsubishi - a strongs and prestigious brand with a great motorsports background,” she said during a recent photoshoot with new Ralliart merchandise.
Founded in April 1984, Ralliart was Mitsubishi Motors’ ticket into rally and off-road racing scenes.
Ralliart was involved in the development of championship-winning motorsport vehicles.
The Mitsubishi Motors Ralliart team was renowned for winning the World Rally Championship, Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the Dakar Rally.
Mitsubishi Motors took seven consecutive wins and 12 overall victories in 225 years of participation in the Dakar Rally.
While the division no longer heavily develops Mitsubishi’s racing vehicles, it still has plenty to offer to motorsports fans of “The Spirit of Competition” in the form of car accessories, boutique merchandise and sporting apparel.
The latest collection of official Ralliart merchandise include round neck T-shirts (from RM68), polo T-shirts (from RM81), Ralliart caps (RM54), dry bag (RM69), belt (RM165) and Ralliart Adidas team bag (RM328).
Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia has 18 Ralliart boutiques naationwide.
Visit http://mitsubishi-motors.com.my/ralliart for more details on Ralliart merchandise.
“I really like the Ralliart slogan - The Spirit of Competition. The merchandise has modern and trendy designs, and caters to motorsports fans. I especially like the dry bag which is waterproof and has a 15-litre capacity, as I can use it for outdoor activities.”
Last year, Leona also became a proud owner of the fifth-generation Mitsubishi Triton VGT Adventure.
“It’s a very powerful all-rounder pick-up truck. I fetch my mom and family, and can use it for outdoor activites, and carry my working gear to motorsports events.
“My mom was surprised at how comfortable the truck was; it has so many passenger car-like comforts. Reverse parking a pick-up truck isn’t easy but the Triton has a reverse camera for more convenience.”
The Triton is Leona’s first pick-up truck, and the latest Triton 2.4 with the MIVEC turbo diesel engine was also her drive during the 2016 Borneo Safari in Sabah, which is widely acknowledged as one of the toughest off-road vehicle events in Malaysia.
For the Borneo Safari, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia had fielded four new Tritons which completed the 400km jungle drive without any change of vehicle parts during the arduous journey.
“Our Tritons did not have mechanical issues, and this was a great success for Mitsubishi. I found it an exciting experience, and I was lucky not to have been bitten by any leches,” she laughed.
Leona has also been busy participating in Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia roadshows all over the country.
“It’s been a lot of fun doing the roadshows; meeting so many fans in Penang, Johor Baru, Miri, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and demonstrating the drift capability of the Triton with them as passengers.”
In the past two years, Leona has been impressing audiences in China after staring in television variety shows such as Xuan Feng Che Shou (cool wind professional driver) and Car God Arrives.
She also owns kurazmotorsports.com which is an online shop for car parts and accessories.
Still, as a lady in an overwhelmingly male-dominated profession, Leona has to continue to prove herself to sceptics.
“People still look down on me. They think I am just a pretty doll. But when I get into a car, I turn into a monster,” she laughed.
Leona with the Triton VGT Adventure X.