With love from Japan: Fighting the cold!

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

Greetings from Motegi!


I’m writing this from the media centre of Twin Ring Motegi and it’s so cold here. It’s called Twin Ring because there are two circuits here – an oval-shaped American-style track that was used for IndyCar (2011 is the last season that Motegi will be hosting IndyCar) and a typical road circuit housed within the oval track.

314665_294046277296283_131620790205500_917964_1539135184_nToday it’s -1°C and I have about 4-5 layers of clothing on me – innerwear, t-shirt, pink jacket, PETRONAS team jacket and the PETRONAS winter jacket.


It’s my third day at Motegi – arriving on Thursday at Narita then driving two hours with a rental car out here. It was practice yesterday and Round 5 of the 2011 Super Taikyu series will be held today, with Round 6 tomorrow. Crazy weekend with 2 rounds, to make up for a postponement of an earlier round due to the unfortunate earthquake…


I caught a midnight flight on Wednesday night, with Fariqe Hairuman, long-time PETRONAS Syntium driver. We landed early in the morning at Narita Airport on Thursday after sleeping throughout the entire flight. I only got up to use the toilet once and missed both meals because I just wanted to sleep.


I remember the SQ stewardess nudging me awake: “Good morning Sir, would you like to have some breakfast?” Upon hearing her address me as ‘Sir’, I didn’t respond immediately but she realised her mistake right away and said again: “Good morning Mam, would you like to have some breakfast?” This time I opened my eyes and shook my head, before going back to sleep. Called me SIR?!


We met up with the other 2 Malaysian drivers Dominic Ang and Ooi Fei Hoong at the airport, as well as Malaysian mechanic Wan Ismail. Then we had to wait 3 hours for technical engineer Niklas Thomassen to arrive from Copenhagen before we made our way to Motegi so the rookie drivers (ie. Dominic and Fei Hoong) could do their track walks.


While waiting for Niklas at Narita, I spent S$100 within my first hour of landing in Japan:


Isn’t that SO nice! I never thought I would own an OUTDOOR backpack again after throwing out the black and maroon ones I used in secondary school. But I couldn’t resist this shiny pink backpack – I’ve been looking high and low for a pink backpack!


Right next to the PETRONAS Syntium Team pits is the race control tower (which houses the media centre) and the GranTurismo Cafe! Yes, the Playstation GranTurismo…



I had my lunch there yesterday, but no I didn’t try my hand at the simulator. 


Oh yes – the first thing that greeted me upon arriving at the PETRONAS Syntium Team pits was Tatsuya Kataoka’s Supra:



Nice right? He uses it to drift too I think…


I’m feeling really sleepy today as I got up at 5am (which is 4am back in Singapore) to leave the hotel at 6am (5am in Singapore) and head to the track. It doesn’t help that the race today is on the oval Motegi Super Speed Way – so the race is just round and round, and round and round. 


Good luck to the PETRONAS Syntium BMW Z4M Coupe cars though! Look out for updates on their progress on my News section.

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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