LEONA CHIN’S BIOGRAPHY
Don’t let her gentle demeanour fool you. Leona Chin is the ultimate girl-next-door spiced with spunk, speed and thrill. Having mastered what is predominantly considered a man’s turf and sport, Leona brazenly breaks down stereotypes by pushing the boundaries of women’s strength, limit and endurance. In conjunction with International Women’s Day this March, we speak to this fearless female drifter about her experience, dreams and aspirations, and how she made it this far in a fast and furious world.
Growing Up Sporty
Talking to Leona, you immediately get a sense that she’s always been active in sports, and that pushing the limits of what’s physically possible is a celebrated form of self-expression. Leona reveals that her love for sports began early, in particular during her primary school days. “Growing up, my interests were always sports-related. I was a bowler, and represented my school in various tournaments,” she says, adding that her interest took a more holistic bent when she ventured into music and joining the school band. Despite her new-found interest in music, her love of sports never took a backseat.
Drifting into Life
Leona equates her encounter to a simple coincidence. Her relationship with fast cars began at the age of 16, when she met a group of people who were car enthusiasts. Leona credits them as the catalysts for her current passion. “They influenced and inspired me to develop an interest in cars. They taught me the specifics of cars, everything I needed to know about engines and engine performance, and other technical features of cars. But more than that, they also taught me how to drive,” she says gratefully.
So how did her knowledge and interest in cars transpire to drifting? Leona explains, “It was a coincidence! I had what’s called a rear-wheel car – it’s a type of car that produces force from behind.” She recalls, “I was at the mechanic’s when this person approached me. Admittedly, he was surprised to see a woman with such a car but he told me that I should consider drifting given that I already have the car for it.” Leona laughs, confessing that she had no inclination of how to go about it.
It may seem a bit of a funny story, but fate intervened as this stranger felt compelled to change Leona’s world as she knew it. “He offered to teach me to drift. In return, he asked me to design his website for him. It was like an exchange of services,” she says with a smile. “Everything I know about drifting and racing I learnt from scratch.”
Starting out with the basics of drifting which were the ‘doughnut’ and the ‘figure 8′, Leona was then encouraged to take part in events to widen her knowledge of the sport. It was valuable advice, give that exposure and experience form the basis of what she so proudly knows to have mastered today. “The events were an excellent form of exposure for me as more people became aware of my drifting abilities. I was even head-hunted at some of the events,” she says. Leona was approached by Red Bull who wanted to sponsor her as a racer, not a drifter – another lucky coincidence, she admits.
“My sponsors encouraged me to join the Driver’s Search Tournament, but there were a lot of stages to get through,” she recalls. Up for the challenge, the ever passionate and competitive Leona quickly found herself scaling the scoreboard. “I made it from the top 30 to the top 10, till I finally reached the top three. This qualified me to participate in the Endurance Race on a proper race track,” she tells me joyfully.
Upon learning everything she could about drifting, Leona began to branch out and decided to explore other forms of racing, namely rallies, autocross and gymkhana, a form of motorsport that aims to achieve the fastest impossible by memorising the race course. She also chose to dabble in go-karting, drag racing, time attack. She is a versatile female racer.
“My aim was to develop myself to be an all-around racer, a jack of all trades,” she shares, her ambition and enthusiasm shining through. “I used to be known as the ‘girl drifter’, but I would like to be known as a motor sport athlete.”
Like most other racers, the lure of speed and the rush of adrenaline are what keep Leona going back for more. “I thoroughly enjoy the challenge inherent to all the different techniques. The way the car slides at an immense velocity is so satisfying!” she exclaims with a glimmer of excitement in her eyes. “The force of movement is amazing and the feeling of being out of control while being in total control is an experience set apart from all others,” she adds.
Her mum, who is her biggest source of inspiration and counsel, constantly reminds her of her safety. To which Leona responds with a laugh, “I tell my mum, ‘I am always safe. Besides, I wear a protective suit’.”
Driven to Succeed
Success is a subjective matter, but for a racer, the opportunity to race in prestigious international circuits often ranks as the number one sign they have made it to the big leagues. “My greatest accomplishments are the number of overseas invitations I have received to race. I was invited to race in Thailand and Singapore,” she notes with pride.
Making it Happen
Like so many women all over the world, personal success does not come easy. What set Leona apart from the countless others reaching for the stars?
After a pensive moment, Leona answers, “It’s all about not giving up. For me, giving up means I’ve already lost even before I’ve started. It’s all about moving forward and doing the best you can.” Being in a predominantly male sport, Leona admits she constantly pushes herself to be at competitive bests with at the least half of the male drivers she races against. “Breaking down the barriers of what’s possible only fuels my own personal sense of accomplishment,” she adds with a grin.
Following her success on the track, Leona and her friends have now gone on to organise motor sports events for up-and-coming drivers who are on a budget. She says, “I want to create an avenue for newcomers to develop the basics of motor sports, just like I did. I want to be able to give them the first steps towards forging a career in racing.”
Keeping Healthy on Track
Keeping up with a good healthy lifestyle is close to godliness for an athlete. This is no different to Leona. “I walk in the mornings or the evenings and either do some stretching or yoga when I am at home,” she shares. Although she may not believe in rigorous and strenuous workout sessions at the gym, Leona chooses to start her day with a healthy fruit and yogurt breakfast smoothie for a nutrition and energy-powered boost.
Leona’s tip on staying healthy:
Drink loads of water. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do!
Cruising into the Future
Motorsports are truly part and parcel of who Leona is, confessing that she is unable to imagine a future without fast cars, race tracks and the accompanying rush of adrenaline. “I would still like to race in the future, but I also see myself teaching others to race. I have recently taken an instructor’s course on safety driving , defensive driving overseas and would like to see that put to good use,” she says hopefully.
And although Leona constantly asserts that her success was born through mere coincidence, upon getting to know this indomitable girl drifter, it is clear that her openness to change, her willingness to learn and her desire to evolve have been her biggest motivators for success.
Leona wisely leaves readers with these words, “If you love something, pursue it with all your heart. I credit my mum as my biggest inspiration, as she’s always advising me to do things beyond the ordinary. ‘Be extraordinary. Stand out. Be different’. And I like to think I’m all that and more,” she finishes with a smile.
大多数的赛车运动都会举行在我国的 “雪棒赛道” ，也是我第一次参加耐力赛的赛道。
现在已经有了我自己的赛队 － Kuraz Motorsports 我和我的队员们已经 开始出国比赛了。
今年我架 凯特勒姆 的场地赛 得了第一名。