THE RACE DRIVER LIFE
Our man knows he’ll never be a race driver in this life, but tries to live like one
e all have had big aspirations when we were young. remembered narrowing my career choices to be either a race car driver or a fighter pilot. With the latter occupation very much out of the window, my dream of becoming a race car driver is nowhere near a possible reality, but the experience of being able to participate in various driving programmes around the world has netted me, years of experience handling fast cars in fluid situations, similar to what race car drivers experience, albeit at a much slower speed with the prediction of what might happen in a similar scenario.
I thoroughly enjoy driving my personal car, a Suzuki Swift that I had acquired almost eight years ago. Since then, the journey has been amazing. Aside from the daily driving that every car undergoes during its 10year lifespan here in Singapore, I also take it to Sepang International Circuit where I put it through its paces on the renowned 5.4km Formula 1 race circuit.
To gain that sense of excitement and that shot of adrenaline rush, I push the boundaries of normal drivers wouldn’t usually attempt, taking corners at over 120km/h. Of course, this wouldn’t be normally possible for a standard Suzuki Swift. I spent many years tinkering and rethinking the aftermarket performance parts that go into the car to fit my driving strategy for clocking the best time on the circuit. This meant spending many hours of research, looking high and low for that particular piece of the jigsaw puzzle. On a budget too, I source for the closest alternative that can do the job just as well as the intended part does. This also meant spending many hours in the workshop, inspecting the car, talking to the mechanics and understanding the more intricate details of the car, so much so that I sometimes take the task upon myself to install or fit a part by getting my hands oily, soiled or dirty.
Understanding one’s car is part and parcel of that process of becoming a race driver. Even if you’re not, it is always good to know the quirks and common issues with your car. While one can get complacent and leave it to towing services in Singapore, the same cannot be said for Sepang, which is easily 400km away from Singapore. This means that every part of the car has to be examined and inspected thoroughly before making the journey. Not that the mechanic cannot be trusted, but sometimes it is better to conduct the inspection by oneself. It is always better to have two pairs of eyes, rather than just one.
That said, it certainly wouldn’t be complete if the driver isn’t in tip-top shape. Believe it or not, I once weighed over 80kg and in the racing world, that is completely unacceptable. Not only was I out of shape, my fitness was off and I was always feeling lethargic. I then recalled my childhood ambition of becoming a race driver and soon, I was off for weekly evening jogs, long distance cycling trips and having balanced meals. It wasn’t surprising