Hi Matthew, share with us how you got started with racing.
It all began back in 2011, when I first got my hands on the 1998 Honda Civic. I was clueless about circuit driving and the mechanics of a car at that point of time, but that did not deter me from making countless trips to Johor Circuit for free practice sessions. It was after my first session, that I spent thousands of minutes studying the driving methodology of the drivers on Best Motoring. It became a constant strive to “do-it-myself” and I was hooked ever since.
However, track sessions are merely practice. My first engagement with racing came in 2012, where I was selected to be on the Red Bull Rookies Sepang 1000km team. From then on, it was the partnership with FUCHS Lubricants that helped me to set foot on my racing ambitions.
What competitions did you participate in, and how did you fare?
I participated in both unsanctioned and sanctioned competitions throughout my few years of engagement in motorsports.
During periods of being a license holder of Singapore Motorsports Association (SMSA), I entered Rounds 3 and 5 of the Singapore Touring Car Championship (STCC) in 2012. Unfortunately, I met with mechanical failure for both rounds. Also, I took part in the 2012 Sepang 1000km race with Red Bull Rookies, winning the challenge that Red Bull set out for their sponsored drivers. Most recently, I participated and came in 1st Place in the SMSA Race Series, held at the Johor Circuit.
When I wasn’t a license holder of SMSA, I took part in a Time Attack held by Konmei, in Malacca International Motorsports Circuit (MIMC). This was back in 2012, where I was the only Singaporean in the field of Malaysian competitors. I managed to obtain 1st Place in the Open Category. With the support of FUCHS Lubricants in 2013, I took part in rounds 1 and 2 of ZeroToHundred’s TimetoAttack event held at Sepang. I suffered from mechanical failure in round 1, and managed to clinch 1st Place in Round 2.
What are your thoughts on the local motorsports culture?
Despite recent improvements, I feel that the local motorsports culture is still laden with a heavy dosage of ego. The purity of enjoying motorsports has been eroded with constant comparisons with who has what, and who’s the best of the best.
Many trackies will firmly support the statement which holds that there is no way to properly cultivate motorsports culture in Singapore due to the lack of a local race track. However, with the increasing support of Malaysia Circuit track day organisers and kart tracks such as Kartright, KF1 and the soon to be ready Karting Arena, it becomes a question of “Are you looking at the right places” for opportunities to engage in local motorsports.
We are definitely growing.
What is your favourite car, and why?
My favourite car is the Ferrari F40 LM. I am biased towards the old school method of building cars. Cars from the yesteryears are able to provide immense feedback to the drivers. I have utter respect for car manufacturers who have the guts to produce cars that are ragged at the edges, un-drivable at low speeds, but hold unrivaled butt clenching performance when brought up to speed. It has to be fast and near impossible to tame. All of which, is embodied in the F40 LM.
Looking at the future, do you think a Singaporean has what it takes to partake in the highest level of motorsports, possibly in Le Mans or Formula One?
Yes, I believe that one day, Singaporeans will eventually be able to reach such a stage. With like-minded parents passing on their motorsports addiction to their kids, we should expect more Formula grade drivers to be produced in the near future.
What advice do you have for young, aspiring teenagers looking to start a hobby, or even a career in racing?
The road is long and tough, riddled with many financial decisions. The key to results is consistency and determination.
What is your dream with regards to racing? How far do you intend to take your racing career to?
My dream is to be driving for a Works Team in the future. It has not been turned into a career yet. That on its own is a dream.