After Porsche China announced their most comprehensive young motorsport talent search ever conducted in the region, over 100 applications were received from hopeful, young Asian drivers. Through a rigorous selection process, Andrew Tang was chosen as one of the final 9 young talents to take part in the Porsche China Junior Programme shootout held in Shanghai, China at the end of 2015.
After thorough evaluation, Tang triumphed to become the first ever Porsche China Junior receiving funding towards the whole Porsche Carrera Cup Asia season and one stop of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, making him one of Singapore’s young and rising racecar drivers.
What are you expectations for this season?
As a start, I expect to finish in the top five for the championship. I was in National Service in May 2014. Since May 2014 to the Porsche assessment in December 2015, I had not been in the car – there was no driving at all. I was not expecting to win it because of my inexperience and lack of time in the car. It was my first time in a GT car as well. I’m really thankful that they saw some potential in me and decided to give me the chance to prove it.
I finished my National Service in May 2016, and prior to that, it was just one official test, and that was about it. There was no practice going into this year’s season. At the start, we were just talking about focusing on getting a podium finishes, but since I had won early in the season, the expectations escalated as well.
It has been a good year so far, and I have a lot to lean – I don’t even have a year’s experience with the GT cars, and it’s going well!
Ha, how are you going to deal with the NS callback, if any?
Heh, when it does come around, I guess we’ll have to figure out a schedule to deal with it.
Give us some insight about the Porsche training programme…
The coaches won’t spoonfeed you. They will suggest a method of approaching a corner, and it is up to me to go out and try it, to find out what works best for myself. In that way, I have learn a lot and I have picked up driving styles from different coaches. They also help with the telemetry, we download all the data from each session and identify the areas where I can improve, such as braking and acceleration.
First time around the Singapore Marina Bay Circuit then?
Yes, it is my first time racing on the circuit, and my first street circuit race as well. The atmosphere is unbelievable – it is great to be racing in front of everyone at home! It’s definitely a challenge since the walls are so close and the margin for error is very small. I made a bit of a mistake during qualifying and I hit the wall.
I’m thankful that the damage was not too great! The circuit is a great challenge and I’m learning more of the car and improving the lap times. This is an experience I need to build myself to become a better all-round racing driver.
What’s your biggest push to keep racing?
My biggest inspiration is my love for the sport, speed and winning. It is something I feel that I was born to do right from the start. It has never left my blood even during NS. There is also my family who supported me as well as my friends. Without them, nothing would had been possible for me today.
We are in a country where motorsports is not exactly looked up to. It is not developed, and it does not seem to be moving at a good pace. There has been some effort, but for an aspiring racer, it is really difficult. I had to go overseas to get some form of practice.
I remember driving up to Malaysia every single weekend with my parents, and as a kid that is difficult, having to sacrifice time for your friends and limited time with family. It is a difficult sport, but we should develop racing more here. I think we have been taking the steps in the right direction and I hope it will stay that way.
How do you feel after a swimmer got his deferment…
I was really building momentum back then, and it was quite an abrupt stop. This year we saw him winning the medal, and one thing for sure, he really worked hard for it. I do feel proud for his achievement, but I also feel a tinge of bitterness, along with the lingering thought of “what if…”, what if I didn’t stop, what if I had an additional two years…
Your ultimate goal?
The good thing about NS is, the two years helped me to build something else: Character. It was very emotional period in my life, but it also taught me a thing or two about perseverance. Well, now, I am in a good situation with Porsche and I want to keep working hard and improving, and hopefully, one day, race for team Porsche at the top. 24 Hours of Lemons or Nurburgring 24 hours would be two of my ultimate goals!