By Cheryl Tay
Mon, Sep 19, 2011
During Formula One race weekends, there are often support races that make up part of the entire event, giving drivers outside F1 the opportunity to try out some of the fastest and toughest tracks in the world.
For example, at this year’s F1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (PCCA) and JK Racing Asia Series – formerly known as the Formula BMW Pacific Series – will have their respective rounds as part of the programme.
Returning this weekend to race on the Marina Bay street circuit for the second time is Duvashen Padayachee, who is competing in the JK Racing Asia Series.
The 21-year-old Australian first raced at the Singapore Grand Prix last year and has also raced at the Malaysian Grand Prix twice.
He said: “The feeling of driving on an F1 track and being part of the F1 atmosphere is just unreal. Knowing that you’re driving on the same tarmac as the world’s best drivers with all eyes on you, the feeling is fantastic as not many get to race on the same track as the F1 guys.”
Having started racing in karts since 2007, this is the second year that Padayachee is racing in single-seaters, as he puts his mechanical-engineering degree in university on hold to strike out on a career in racing.
He said: “It was phenomenal to race on the Singapore street circuit last year, under the lights in front of a massive crowd. I encountered some unfortunate incidents during the race and ended up hitting the wall.
“That’s the thing about street circuits – there is no room for error, with minimal run-off areas and no gravel traps like those at purpose-built circuits. In addition, we race at night so that makes it even tougher.”
Richard Bradley, last year’s Formula BMW Pacific champion, won one of the two races held as support to last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The 20-year-old said: “One mistake here, and you’re into the barrier. Also, in Singapore with this climate, it is easy for drivers who are not as fit to make mistakes as they get tired.”
Singaporean Yuey Tan, 29, will be racing on the Marina Bay circuit for the third time this year in the PCCA. Through the PCCA, he has also raced three times at the Shanghai International Circuit during the F1 Chinese Grand Prix.
He recalled: “The first time I drove on the Marina Bay circuit was in 2009. It was a pretty emotional moment as I teared a little. I’m just a regular guy on the street and getting to race on an F1 track in your home country is a dream come true.
“Motorsports has grown immensely in Singapore, but I hope people will be more aware of the different tiers of motorsports below F1, such as the support races in F1, like the PCCA.”
*This was first published in My Paper.