14-year-old Singaporean karter becomes the youngest and first from motorsports to receive this award
Leading Singaporean karter Daim Hishammudin, 14, has done the local motorsport fraternity proud for being the youngest and first from motorsport to receive The Straits Times (ST) Star of Month award for October, an extension of the ST’s Athlete of the Year accolade that launched in 2008. Presented by F&N’s 100Plus, Daim and his family made their way down to Singapore – from Kuala Lumpur where they are based – for the award ceremony last Thursday. He was presented with a trophy from ST sports editor Marc Lim and a 100Plus hamper from F&N’s general manager of corporate marketing Jennifer See.
“I’m really honoured to win this award and am glad that the motorsport community is receiving recognition. My ultimate goal is to make it to Formula 1 and I will try my best to make it there and make Singapore proud,” said Daim.
Born in Singapore but raised in Malaysia after moving there in 2004, Daim has been karting since the age of eight. He started racing competitively in karts in 2008, winning the Yamaha SL Cup 2008 Cadet title and then the Rotax Max Challenge Asia 2009 Micromax title and the Yamaha SL Cup 2010 Cadet title in the next two years. 2011 was his transition year from Cadets to Juniors and Daim adjusted well, finishing overall second in the Rotax Max Challenge Asia 2011 Junior category. This year, he claimed his stake as one of the region’s best karters in his class, taking the Rotax Max Challenge Asia 2012 Junior title.
Commenting on his championship title this year, Daim said, “When I first got out of the kart after the race at the last round, I was elated that I won the race but I didn’t know that I won the championship until my father told me afterward. I was super happy when I heard the news! At the start of the season I was aiming to win the championship but after some horrible incidents mid-season that cost me valuable points, I knew my chances were slim but I just kept my head up and kept going.”
Indeed, it hasn’t been the smoothest of seasons for Daim. Starting off well with a second place finish at the opening round at PLUS Speedway, Subang, the next two rounds were bad when he met with technical mishaps and unfortunate incidents on track. He finished 26th at Round 2 at PLUS Speedway, Subang and then 12th at Round 3 at Sepang. Keeping his eyes on the title, Daim got his championship hopes back on track with second-place finishes at Round 4 at Sepang and Round 5 in Pekan. The race win that was eluding him all season finally came at Round 6 in Sepang, pipping him to the top of the standings.
Daim was only one of two Singaporeans to be invited to compete in the prestigious 12th Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals at the Al Ain Raceway in United Arab Emirates last year. This year, he is the only Singaporean invited to race in the 13th Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portugal.
When the AirAsia Caterham Driver Development Programme was launched in 2010, Daim was the first to be selected and has been on the programme since. He is the first and only Singaporean development driver with the Malaysian-owned Caterham Formula One team.
Recognising the need to gain exposure abroad, Daim spent three months in Italy in early 2011, training intensively in Descenzano Del Garda with the Kosmic Racing team and also participating in some World Series Karting (WSK) Master Series races.
The goal for Daim is to reach Formula One by 2020.