Interview With Jon Lee - Singapore Senior Rok DVS champion for 2015

POSTED ON: August 9, 2015

James Lee, Jon Lee and Team Principal, Mr Lawrence Soh at the Rok Cup 2015 (Round 4) podium ceremony on 11 July 2015, KF1 Circuit. Photo Credits: Jennifer Han

(1) Firstly congratulations on finishing as the Singapore Senior Rok DVS champion for 2015. Many in the local Asean karting community already know or have heard of you. For the benefit of those who haven’t, can you share with us your karting history and your performance credentials in the competitions you’ve entered since first racing competitively?

I started racing in the Cadet category when I was 9 years old. Besides winning the Singapore Karting Championship, I have also stepped on the podium for oversea races such as finishing 2nd runner up in the Sangari International race and Rotax Invitational during my cadet years.

Most recently, I was crowned Singapore Karting Junior Champion. In my Junior years, I have also finished on the podium for the Xeramic Challenge held in Sepang Malaysia and other Asian Karting Open Championship races in Macau, Indonesia and the Philippines.

(2) Has 2015 been your busiest race season since racing competitively? Apart from the Rok Cup which you finished champion and will be heading to the ROK Cup World Final in Lonato later this October, I also understand you are racing the Asia Max Challenge and X30 Challenge series as well.

Well, not exactly as compared to year 2013 when I was racing in the Asia Rotax series, AKOC series and SKC rounds, not only racing in Singapore and Malaysia, I have to fly to a few other ASEAN countries to compete.

2015, the races are mainly concentrated in Singapore and Malaysia but they are held very near in terms of race weekends.

Yes, I will be racing in the ROK Cup World Finals in Italy, representing Singapore in the ROK DVS category.

Currently I am also leading the X30 Challenge series after 2 rounds and looking forward to next 2 rounds in November.

As for the Asia Max Challenge, I have raced 4 rounds, due to school commitments; I may not be able to complete all rounds.

(3) Which drivers have been your main competitors during the year? Has there been a driver that are you have been benchmarking yourself and your performance against this year?

I would say that the main competitors will be the local Senior Champions like Amin Noorzilan and Thaddeus Lee.

I do not benchmark myself against anyone, just try my best & achieve the best results I can in each race.

(4) What are your racing plans for 2016?

It is difficult to say now as I will need to focus on my studies, especially since 2016 will be my first year in junior college.

I would like to continue racing in the Asia Max Challenge but maybe try out the DD2 category and probably do another year of the ROK and X30 series too. Single seater or car racing is also an option if budget allows.

(5) As someone who has seen the recent growth of karting in Singapore since Kartright Speedway opened, what do you think about the current state of junior racing in Singapore? If you were asked for an opinion, which areas of Singapore karting can be further enhanced by the series owners, track owners and the SMSA?

The Juniors basically are the drivers that graduated from the Cadets. During my year, there were fewer Cadet drivers and some of them did not continue into the next phase thus we see much lesser Junior drivers.

Having said that, since the opening of KF1 track in Kranji, we can see many more Cadet drivers participating in local and Malaysia races. So, I think the number of Junior drivers will increase eventually.

I think that besides asking the track and series owners to do more, the Local Media need to help make Singapore Karting scene more popular and interesting to the public. Very seldom do we get news on our local racers and races.

As for SMSA, probably the association can do more by reaching out to potential sponsors that can help out local talented and aspiring drivers.

(6) Your schooling and ECA schedule looks as comprehensive as does your racing schedule. How do you achieve the balance of performance between good results at the track and in school?

From Monday to Friday, I spend almost three quarter of my time each day in school, while Sundays I attend tuitions. Stay focus and diligently finished all projects and homework assigned. Honestly speaking, I do not spend much time in practicing on the kart compared to a lot of other drivers.

Most of the time, I just join the races and do my practices on race weekend itself. This allowed me to have less absenteeism from school to go racing.

(7) What are your academic plans next year? JC or Poly? Do you intend to study at the local universities or further your studies overseas?

I’m studying in Victoria School and currently in my Year 4 of IP which is a 6-year programme - Victoria-Cedar Alliance Intergrated Programme (VCA IP) jointly offered with Cedar Girls’ Secondary School (CGSS) and their afflicated college, Victoria Junior College (VJC). Thereafter, I will be admitted to VJC next year and hopefully to a local university after that.

(8) Have you ambitions of what career you intend to make for yourself in a couple of years? Likewise, what are your racing profession aspirations moving forward?

My ambition is of course, to be a racer. If not I’m looking into medicine. My racing aspirations will depends on how much sponsorship we can secure in the future. I have already tested a single seater race car last year, hopefully I can do some races too.

(9) Your father, James Lee is a champion karter who spent time with yourself and your brother to work on your racecraft. Your mother helps support the PR side of your racing activities. For the aspiring youth and parents that wish to pursue their racing dreams, can you impart any words of advice or encouragement regarding the family support and encouragement? Are there any sacrifices that must be made to pursue one’s dreams?

Well, racing is an expensive sport. Unlike some of the drivers who have the funds readily for them, I was lucky enough to be able to race because we are able to do it with on a shoe string budget through my dad’s arrangement as a mechanic and team manager. I was also lucky to have some sponsors that came forward to support me.

For anyone who aspires to pursue their racing dreams, the most important thing is to firstly get the support of his family members. It is just like any other sports but more costly, with the family support, I am sure the dream will not end so easily. I don’t think there are any sacrifices that need to be made just that in this sport, financial capability is important.

(10) Would you like to give a shout-out to your sponsors? I understand that you have a new team sponsoring you. What CRG chassis are you using and what do you like about it?

I would like to thank Eagle Eye Centre and CooperVision for giving me a crystal clear vision whenever I’m racing (regardless rain or shine). At the same time make me look so good (without glasses) each time I stand on the podium with all the cameras flashing at me.

Yes, my Singapore races are sponsored by team TPCRG (The Podium Club) which is run by Mr.Lawrence Soh.

I am racing on the CRG KT2 chassis which is a 30mm all round chassis. The chassis is easy to be set and has a lot of grip at the front for fast turn in thus making it very suitable for twisty track like KF1 circuit.

Lastly to any firms, companies, privateers and associations who are interested in getting involved to support a local talented aspiring driver, please check out my website at, www.jonleexh.com, any form of sponsorship is welcome.

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