BY CHERYL TAY
Hailing from different disciplines of sports, four national athletes will be racing under the Team Singapore banner in the KF1 Corporate Challenge — an annual corporate karting event started last year.
Recent Olympic Games medalist Feng Tianwei from table tennis, shuttler Fu Mingtian and sprinter Gary Yeo will form the Team Singapore outfit with fourth member Andrew Tang, who is a race karter and currently competing at the World Series Karting level in Europe.
"It has always been my dream to form a Team Singapore that consists of athletes from different sports, to compete in go-karting," said Richard Tan, organiser of the KF1 Corporate Challenge taking place on 2 September 2012 at the main straight of the Formula 1 Marina Bay street circuit.
The idea came to him sometime early in the year and AutoInc Racing, an independent broker specialising in sports and luxury cars, has since kindly agreed to sponsor Team Singapore for the Challenge.
Utilising professional race karts, the Challenge is hosting 15 teams this year.
Prior to this, Feng and Fu have never tried karting before, while Yeo has only tried those at themed parks.
"When I first received the invitation to be part of this team, I was excited and scared at the same time as I've never tried karting before. However, after getting into it, I find it fun and I really like it a lot. In badminton I use a lot of my arms but yet, they were aching quite a bit after karting!" said Fu, 22, who became a Singapore citizen in 2007 under the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme and was the first Singaporean to win a gold medal at the SEA Games in 2011.
"In my life I never thought I would race karts one day and I think the racing suit makes the drivers very good-looking! I will drive my best and I hope I won't pull the team down," Fu added.
Yeo, 26, who made his Olympic debut at the recent London Games in the 100-metre sprint, has always wanted to try his hand at racing but never had the opportunity or the time to.
He said, "We have had about three practice sessions already, starting with the recreational karts first. That wasn't very much but when we stepped up to the race karts next, it was a world of difference. The handling is totally different and you required a much higher skill level to manage the higher power and adrenalin."
"The concentration level for karting compared to athletics is also much more intense as we have to keep the speeds and adrenalin levels up for prolonged periods of time. Also, in athletics, what I control is my own body movements, whereas in karting there is another machine to manage. Nonetheless, Andrew (Tang) has been very helpful in giving us tips on how to negotiate the track," Yeo added.
With the most racing experience of the four, Tang first karted at the age of seven and was collecting regional titles under his belt, before he took a four-year hiatus in 2005 and only returned to the sport two years ago.
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.