Above: Roland Chong of Kartmaster (left) and Raymond Low of Drakar Racing are co-team principals of Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team.
Establishing an international motor racing academy in Singapore with the current state of motorsport development is a tall order, but that does not stop several passionate individuals from setting up outfits to pursue this goal.
Instead of pitting themselves against each other, a merger of two karting teams was announced last Saturday.
What was previously Kartmaster Team headed by Roland Chong and Drakar Racing Team owned by Raymond Low is now a combined effort known as Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team.
A veteran in the kart racing arena, Chong was serving as a consulting technical advisor to Drakar prior, but sometime late last year, both team principals decided it was best to combine forces to achieve greater results.
“We realised both of us want to see Singaporeans excel on the international stage. For Singaporeans to excel in motorsports, there has to be a platform for young drivers to build a strong foundation and that can only be done through karting. There are raw gems out there waiting to be unearthed and, given the right tools, support and opportunities, they can be polished into bright diamonds. We decided to pool our resources and expertise together to form Kartmaster Drakar and we aim to provide a professional environment for young local talents to learn, train and compete,” says Mr Low.
Kartmaster Drakar admits it is a “lofty goal” and “a long and arduous journey” to become “a local motorsport academy with a Singaporean race on the elite international stage”, but that does not deter them from trying.
“We do realise that our ambition requires big commitments. We are not naive to suggest we can achieve that goal now. It is a big project that requires the support of all Singaporeans, the corporate partners, the media and the public sector. We start by putting the little bricks in place in a bid to see that dream come to fruition,” adds Mr Chong.
The pioneering drivers of Kartmaster Drakar are Singaporeans Mohammad Nasri Naufal (Opai), Jon Lee, Josh Lee, Santosh Bala Kerisnan Thevar, as well as Indonesians Anderson Martono and Darryl Wenas.
They will be competing in the Singapore Karting Championship and also the Asian Karting Open Championship.
Funding is a crucial tool for sustainability and Kartmaster Drakar has managed to secure corporate partners such as UrbanGroup, Aston Martin Singapore, Magma Studios, Liqui Moly, Fullerton Resources and DHL.
The karting scene in Singapore has picked up over the last two years and the launch of Kartmaster Drakar follows on the heels of AutoInc Racing, another local karting outfit formed last December.
AutoInc Racing is owned by Benjamin Tan, managing director of independent luxury car broker AutoInc, in partnership with RL Karting Malaysia and Zhuhai-based ART Motorsport.
AutoInc is also the title sponsor for the SKC and together with its foreign motor racing partners, the goal is to educate right about motorsport and build a motorsport solution that includes kart racing, GT car racing and formula car racing.
Since its inauguration, the seven karters of AutoInc Racing have been aggressively engaged in pre-season testing to prepare for the national karting season that begins in April and ends in December.
A new venue has been added to the SKC – three of the five rounds will be held at the F1 Village, where Turns 1 and 2 of the F1 Marina Bay street circuit are.