Cheryl Tay’s highlights of 2010

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay

I was just browsing through my photos of 2010 and I thought why not do a simple recap of some of the highlights? There’s so much I can put here, but I can’t go on forever!


Here goes: The best thing about January 2010 had to be the Audi Sportscar Experience where I got to take the Audi R8 V10 round Sepang.. talk about orgasms!! [Read my article here.]

I wish I could have stayed frozen in that moment forever! :p

I also had my virgin horse racing experience at the Audi RS5 Sportback launch at Turf Club.. I ended up only making one or two bets and saving the rest of the chips as souvenirs! [Read more here.]

I went to Bangkok for a personal trip in February 2010 and this time, remembered to take photos of the fertility shrine at Swissotel Nai Lert Park.

Women actually go there and make offerings at the shrine, which is known as Chao Mae Tuptim or Goddess Tuptim Shrine.

March 2010 was a crazy month as I travelled EVERY WEEK! (This was the final straw for my r’ship then..). He broke up with me upon my return from the last trip of the month:( ) Anyway, I was invited to Sepang for the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia testing where we got to meet the drivers pre-season and chat with them about the year ahead. Only two Singaporean drivers sadly… but pretty race queens made up some for it, no? [See report here.]

Then I was at Swissotel Nai Lert Park, Bangkok for a week to train the new Marcoms Executive (I was working for Swissotel Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific office as Media Relations Executive) and I had a close encounter with the Red Shirts! [See blog entry here.]

Thankfully nothing bad happened and I returned home, only to go off the next week to Hua Hin for the launch of the new Michelin PilotSport 3!


The Michelin GT5!

[Read about my GT5 drive in The New Paper here.]


Then I single-handedly reported Formula 1 “live” from Sepang for The New Paper in April 2010 for the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix. That weekend was one of the worst weekends ever as I got played out by Tourism Malaysia and their media fam trip, and my luggage handle broke while this guy at Sepang was helping me carry it up the steps to the media centre, and also, the taxi I called never came so I was stranded at the circuit till 2am.


Sights like these make the trip worthwhile! ;)

Nonetheless, when I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the F1 cars, I knew that was where I belonged.


In the Toro Rosso pit during free practice

In four days, I interviewed Mark Webber, Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, Fairul Fauzy, Tony Fernandes and covered the races.


Mark Webber


Jamie Alguersuari


Sebastien Buemi

That was when I “discovered” Richard Bradley and was the first in Singapore to write about him when my article was published on 3 April in The New Paper.


Richard Bradley flies the Singapore flag and later went on to clinch the Drivers’ Championship and Rookie Cup in this Formula BMW Pacific 2010 season.

Read my Malaysian F1 experience here.


At Formula Drift Singapore, I spotted the infamous Ris Low in the hospitality area and I interviewed a great deal of popular drifters in this region like Malaysia’s Prince of Drift Tengku Djan Ley, Thailand”s Drift King Kiki Sak Nana, 2004 D1GP champion Ryuji Miki, and D Wan of Malaysia. [My FD S"pore story was published in The New Paper and TopGear Malaysia as well as TopGear Singapore.]


Tan Tat Wei’s loose bonnet


Spot the Difference(s)



Interviewing Lim Kim Wan


Ryuji Miki


Ris Low!!


I also got my first race kart experience at newly-opened Kartright Speedway under the tutelage of Richard Bradley.. yes I had the honour! [See story here.]

Finally, at the end of April, the drivers were chosen for the AirAsia ASEAN Driver Development Programme and the launch was held at the AirAsia quarters at LCCT in KL [See brief here.]. I’ve been writing about Daim Hishammudin (Singapore-born Malaysia-based kart racer) since his early days and am the first English media in Singapore to write about him. I’ve also been regularly reporting his progress…


This exact photo of mine was published in The Straits Times with photo credits fully to me! :)

I went up to Sepang for the Asian Festival of Speed in May 2010 and got acquainted with the M’sian photographers there who took candid shots of me!

I also had my first white water rafting experience when I drove up to Ipoh in the Volkswagen Polo!


Both soles of my shoes fell off!!

I also got to interview former rally driver champion Rauno Aaltonen when he was here in Singapore for MINIFESTO 2010. [See interview here.]


June 2010 was a big month as it was the start of a period where I ran the regional office of Swissotel Hotels & Resorts by myself. My former boss resigned and it was the interim period before my new boss came in. I attended the Marketing Interactive Agency of the Year awards at Shangri-La Hotel and I know it’s not overseas trip, but I totally miss my STRAIGHT hair and this photo just determined my thoughts of rebonding my hair and getting rid of my quite-new curls.

Then I attended my first ever endurance race at the Sepang 1,000km [My race report here] and again, the Malaysian photographers took funny shots of me!

Ha, then I made a race queen comeback at the Goodyear International Drift Series round 2 in Malacca when I went undercover as a Goodyear ambassador! [Read more about my comeback queen experience here.]

You should have seen how I kept tugging at my dress and pulling it down.. didn’t help that the cameraman was focusing a lot on me doing that :(

I used to work as a race queen in my early days in this industry, but it’s been a long time since I went public in an outfit like that! I didn’t even last two hours after trying my hand at the job at the start line, oops! I prefer to be behind the camera taking shots like this:

Sometime mid-June, I went on a media junket to London for the AirAsia British MotoGP. It was my first time flying AirAsia X (long-haul arm of budget carrier AirAsia) and 13.5 hours on a budget-type flight is no joke man. [Read about my flight here.]


London was beautiful and I was there for about eight days! We had high tea with some of the MotoGP drivers at Lord’s Cricket Grounds, we went on a Visit Britain tour and we got to watch The Lion King.

Know who this is? Jorge Lorenzo! MotoGP champion 2010!

Sole Malaysian rider in MotoGP 125cc and Tony Fernandes the man himself

The London Eye

You can’t go to London and not watch a play!

The weekend was the best of course, where I attended my first ever motorbike race. [Read one of my reports here.]

Motorbike racing is more thrilling than F1 racing!! Gosh..


Think this car belongs to one of the MotoGP commentators..

Just look at the number of spectators who rode to the event.. This picture doesn’t capture it all!

I even had time to have a Meet-The-Fan session in London with Danial Khairul:

Yes he’s Singaporean and based in Singapore.. don’t ask me why we met up there instead!

I also got to drive a Porsche for the first time (media test drives are limited to 28 years old and above hence I’m stuck) at the Porsche World Roadshow. Not one but a few Porsches! Wowee~ [Read my thoughts on it here.]


July 2010 was the month I chose to go diving! I completed my basic diving licence at Dayang and then two weeks later went on a Live-On-Board for my advanced diving course. [Read about my first ever diving trip here and my LOB experience here.]

Btw, did you know that I’m scared of fishes? Don’t ask me why I chose to go diving still! :p


During the basic course at Dayang, my instructor happily threw me overboard and I didn’t expect it at all hence I didn’t dip and ended up smashing my right thigh into the side of the boat as I flew into the water. The result?



How ugly right? URGH! It totally spoilt my photos with my first ever Ferrari test drive – the California! [Read my review published in MillionaireAsia here.]

Thank goodness my bruises healed in time for the filming I had with the Nissan GT-R R35.. that car sends you giddy with pleasure and sheer joy!

August 2010 was my official last month of work at Swissotel. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I decided to quit my day job and pursue my dream. It is a luxury to be able to have your passion as your career, so Cheryl Tay Pte Ltd was the name I thought up (didn’t really have to think too hard actually, just being original)!


I went to my second endurance race – this time its the Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race. Part of the trip included the Audi RS5 launch and a driving experience at Sepang! The Audi R8 V10 coupe, Audi R8 V10 spyder, Audi TT-RS, Audi RS5 and other models were tested on the track.. AWESOME! [Read about my experience here.]


I look so small!

We helped them to refuel the cars for the next group of participants.. extra driving time with the car, hee hee 

Before the MMER started, we went go-karting at the Sepang Go-Kart Track with Audi Singapore. I like the Sepang karting track!

MMER is 12 hours long and it started at midnight this year! About a third into the race, I couldn’t take it so I went back to the hotel to sleep before returning for the last third. 2011, I’m gonna endure the entire race man! [Read my MMER article here.]

Congratulations Garage R on coming in second in class at MMER 2010! ;)

The month of August ended with another trip to Europe via AirAsia X again - this time to Italy to witness Daim’s first European race at the WSK Master Series round 1 and then to London for a few days where I visited the Lotus Racing and Cosworth factories.

Guess who I met at Siena? Two-time World Champion Mika Hakkinen!!!


Mika is really nice in person with no airs and he would say hi to me each time he saw me. Btw, his younger daughter resembles him a lot! [Read my story on Mika here.]


Mika was there because his son Hugo was racing.. future champion? Maybe! Anyway, it was there where I witnessed for myself how tough racing in Europe is.. and this isn’t even near the most competitive levels!

I got Mika to autograph my media pass! :)

Bumped into Peter de Bruijn too!

I interviewed Peter via email the week before I came up to Siena and when I introduced myself to him, he immediately made the connection when I said I was from Singapore. Whoa. [Read the interview here.]


Back in London, I remember eating Four Seasons roast duck almost everyday! The Lotus Racing and Cosworth factory visits are not typical of a holiday itinerary, but it was an eye-opening experience no less…

Checking out how light parts of an F1 car can be!

September 2010 is Grand Prix season in Singapore as F1 washes up our shores. Covering F1 for The New Paper this year, I had a most satisfying week… tell it in pictures I shall!

Jamie Alguersuari teaching me how to spin

Atop the helipad of Swissotel The Stamford

Buemi felt underdressed as he didn’t know he was coming to a club!

Marieluise Mammitzsch, PR officer for Toro Rosso, whom I interviewed too!

Nico Hulkenberg was a tad grouchy during his interview



Not quite the year for him as his new team-mate totally outshone him


Don’t you think he looks like a wax figure here?


Interviewed him last year but I don’t think he remembers or that he even cares..


This is an honour! Youngest F1 team principal is now principal of a WORLD CHAMPION team!


This is the root of RBR’s success – Adrian Newey


Meet former WRC champion Carlos Sainz and Carlos Sainz Jr.


Congratulations once again Red Bull Racing for clinching both titles! I realised I got to interview both RBR drivers, Adrian Newey and Christian Horner this year.. wow! :D


Read about my crazy F1 week here and also, read all of my F1 interviews here:

Adrian NeweyChristian HornerSebastian VettelFelipe MassaJarno TrulliHeikki KovalainenNico Hulkenberg,  Sebastian Buemi,Jaime AlguersuariMarieluise MammitzschCarlos Sainz Jr., Sonia Irvine


I also did an advertorial for SPARK Car Care in September [see here for more details] for their in-house range of car care products:


I also ‘starred’ in one of their shots for the new service centre [see the press release here]:

BMW Asia treated us to a nice scenic drive in Bali in October 2010 for the BMW EfficientDynamics drive. [Read my write-up here.]

I missed a few events in October like MotoGP Sepang, Goodyear International Drift Series Thailand, Yamaha SL Cup final and JPM Berjaya Hill Climb, but I went to France for 10 days. It wasn’t a good time to be there due to the work strikes, but I survived! :)


You should have seen the queues at the gas stations man! Read more here


Other than the weekend in Paris, the rest of my time was spent in Dijon at French racewear manufacturer Stand21. Stand21 is a premier racing gear brand that focuses on safety of the driver and specialises in made-to-measure fully customised gear.

Yves Morizot, president and founder of Stand21

I enjoyed the thorough factory visit and am really impressed with their brand values and products. Stand21 invested heavily in an R&D medical programme called Heat Stress Control, which resulted in an innovative breatheable fabric! They are also one of only two licensees in the world for the HANS (Hands and Neck Support) device.


While in France, the Ang family made the effort to come all the way to Paris just to meet me! Little eight-year-old Alvis is quite the hero of his French hometown! [Read the article on him here.]

Ooh, as part of my campaign to promote, a contest was held for a chance to go on a date with me! This guy called Alvin Sng won it and we had dinner at Angelo’s, decent guy… [Read how the date went here.]


I missed some events in November 2010 too, such as Asian Open Karting Championship in Thailand, Formula Drift Thailand and the Yamaha Invitational Challenge in Malaysia.


Instead, I was at the Macau Grand Prix – this is a race not to be skipped! The Guia street track is so so narrow and accidents are aplenty, but this race will go on annually as it is not just the racing that people are here for… ;)


Last December, I was invited onto the set of on Channel NewsAsia to discuss the topic about bad driving behaviour. December 2010, I was invited once more onto to discuss road rage!

For some reason, I was more nervous this year than last! But I enjoy such discussions and thank you CNA producers for thinking of me! :)


My last event for 2010 was Formula Drift Malaysia – which I covered thoroughly and updated real-time via my Facebook page and blog. Amazing experience at Dataran Merdeka in KL.

2008 D1GP champion Saito Daigo at his first Formula Drift event and he wins it!


Think my panning shots are improving!

And that concludes the highlights of 2010 for me!


There were loads of test drives and other local events, as well as personal achievements like getting my first Straits Times and My Paper byline, but if I put them all here then it won’t be ‘highlights’ but ‘annual report’! :p


It certainly has been an eventful year for me, both on a personal and professional level. I hope 2011 will be a happier and smoother year:)


Vroom vroom…

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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