Monday, 7 August 2017

Pro-racer Chin switches role

Supporting role: Chin discussing strategy with Teo.

Supporting role: Chin discussing strategy with Teo.

PETALING JAYA: As a professional race car driver, all Leona Chin needed to do was to train hard and bring along her crash helmet to the track on race day.

Nowadays, Chin finds herself planning proposals and going to meetings with potential sponsors as she dips her toes into managing a team for an upcoming race, the Vios Challenge organised by Toyota, at Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang on Aug 12 and 13.

Being the ambassador for another vehicle brand means Chin cannot be behind the wheel during the race.

So aside from managing the team, Mudah Racing, Chin finds herself swapping roles with her manager Akina Teo, who will be in the driver’s seat instead.

“Drawing up proposals, looking for funding and worrying over budgets are things you’d never have to worry much about as a driver,” said the 31-year-old Chin.

Luckily, Teo is on hand to share his expe­rience and the workload with her, she said.

“You also have to consider things such as returns on investment for potential sponsors and gathering a team of support people to make the team a success,” she said.

Teo, who will be competing in the race’s Super Sporting elite category, will have a back-up team of eight supporting him.

“It’s a multiracial crew, made up of people I met from previous races and performances. When we ap­­proached them about this project, they were all excited to be a part of the team,” said Chin.

She added that the team will be responsible for making repairs and fine-tuning Teo’s car in between race heats.

For her part, Chin will be reviewing and communicating with her driver from the stands in their bid for a podium finish.

“Usually it’s Teo who is reviewing my performance and advising me on how to improve in between heats,” she laughed.

Recently, the drift queen also posted three publicity stills from F-Team, a 13-episode reali­ty show she participated in between 2015 and 2016 in China and currently showing on Astro’s Kah Lai Toi channel.

Chin said the three-month production experience has been very educational for her, from learning Mandarin to surmount the language barrier, as well as powering through the different driving challenges with no se­­cond chance.

“I posted them on Instagram because Kah Lai Toi is airing the series right now, but it taught me a lot about mental strength, and how much further I want to develop as a professional race driver,” she said.

Now, Chin also has aspirations to break into China’s racing and entertainment scene as well as expanding into GT-level racing in Asia.

The race driver has also pledged her support for the #AnakAnak­Malaysia Walk 2017, which takes place on Aug 27 at Shah Alam’s Dataran Kemerdekaan.

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