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Singapore Airlines Light Up The Night Carnival – My story

It’s less than a month away but yes, the 2015 F1 Singapore Grand Prix is coming soon and me being a racing fanatic, I cannot wait for that weekend in late September. And thanks to Singapore Airlines, the title sponsors for the Singapore Grand Prix, we got a bit of a taste of the racing fever. Well not me since I always have it but for everyone else to get themselves ready and get into the racing festival mood.

This event was done in a way to promote the upcoming race but also it was a great way to get everyone into the racing spirit. There was a lot of stuff to see and do these past two days (22nd and 23rd August 2015). Of course I had to check it out! Me personally, it looks to me that Singapore Airlines has done a lot to get hte fans involved since taking over the sponsor title from Singtel and I couldn’t be any happier that they’re the ones doing this. They are probably one of, if not the, most well known Singaporean brands around anyways!

Day 1 – Saturday

The first thing I tried to do was get in on the action with the go-karts but then I remembered I was wearing my slippers and not a shoe. To drive these go-karts, your feet had to be fully covered. Shows you how little go-karting I’ve done to forget that bit of information I probably should have known. So what’s the next best thing? Try out the racing simulator then.

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It’s not my first time trying a racing simulator for F1 2015 game this month. Funan mall has two simulators for anyone to try going on, one of which is the same as this one at the F1 Pit Building, the other was even more expensive but obviously that meant it was better. Still, the Logitech G29 Driving Force is pretty good itself and I just found out it’s about $600. I might need to start saving then. We only had one lap around the Marina Bay Street Circuit on the simulator and it had to be done in 3 minutes. I did at least get to finish my lap, 1m51s was the time. Not the best but it was my first and only go with that simulator so it’s not so bad I guess.

There’s also an area to try your hand at being a pit member and changing an F1 tyre. For whatever reason, I didn’t try that one out on both days, just happened to skip my mind. There was also a paper plane challenge but I can never make a good one so that’s not for me. There was also an SIA louge area of sorts next to the racing simulator and on display was a model of the Airbus A380 and also seats from that plane, Economy Class, Business Class and First Class. I never got to sit on the first class seat, I mean everyone wants to try it right? I don’t have the money to fly around in first class seat myself.

There were a number of supercars on show and there was one that caught my eye and it was the first one I saw. I have seen pictures of that particular car before but never live in living colour. And it was right there in front of me making it’s way back to the garage to be on display for all to see. It’s the Koenigsegg Agera 5. It’s not just a supercar, it’s a hypercar! And guess how much it costs?

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$5.3 million smackers! Yes, 5.3 million dollars. I can only dream of what 5.3 million dollars is like. I could do a lot with that kind of money and I wouldn’t even consider buying that car even if I had the money. I would if I had 10 million though. It was also the only one of it’s kind in Singapore. To the lady who owns it….can you let me have a test drive sometime in the future? 😛

There was also a whole host of supercars ranging from Ferraris, McLarens, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Audis and Maseratis. It was probably the most expensive parking lot Singapore had ever seen, and the best looking one for sure as well! And yes, I had more McLaren pictures than I do for Ferrari, I just couldn’t help myself! I did snap one pretty cool picture of a number of cars at the front of the pack. It might be one of my best pictures I’ve ever taken:

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Five different manufactures represented at the front too. McLaren, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Maserati from left to right. The cars were in a formation to spell out “SIA”, the front pack making up the “S” formation. The only people who probably had a view of the SIA formation are the one who were on the Singapore Flyer at the time or the tall buildings around the area.

There was also a few stunt cars not just on display but putting a really good stunt show, from close calls of a J parking to synchronized donuts and also the best trick I’ve seen, the car going around while the drivers were out of it! No-one was driving that damn car! I’ve not seen that one done before so kudos to those guys for that. A few TCR cars were on display as well as they’ll be making their debut at the Singapore Grand Prix this year. I’ve already seen two great races from them in Sepand (the first two races ever in this new TCR series) and I hope their races will be great in Singapore too.

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The second floor of the F1 pit building was open with more activies as well. I had never been on the second floor so that was nice to see what the paddock club suites looked like….well not quite as it was empty for now but still, the view from there was pretty good. No wonder people pay good money for those tickets, I’d love to watch the action from there too. Here’s what the view is like:

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The main reason for me going to the 2nd floor was to see the wax figures of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, which was borrowed from the Madam Tussad museum in Sentosa. I’ve always wanted to go to one of those museums just to see what it’s like. Also on display next to them was the F1 2014 Singapore Grand Prix winner’s trophy. Of course I had to get a picture of that. And a picture with the SIA girls. Combine them both and it’s a better pic. So good, I took another one the next day, this time with two SIA girls. Let’s be honest, they are the prettiest air stewardess of them all. No other airlines can match them…not that I’ve seen one yet.

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Day 2 – Sunday

I had planned to go just on the Saturday but I was back on Sunday for one main reason, have a go at driving the go-karts from the KF1 guys. They’ve got a brilliant new kart circuit in Kranji that was designed by Herman Tilke. Yes, that same guy who designed the Sepang, Shanghai, Istanbul circuits to name a few. I’ll pay them a visit one of these days. Luckily for me I was one of the first to show up so I didn’t have to wait 40 minutes like most people did the day before.

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You had to pay $5 to have a 10 minute session on track and since it was for charity, I’m all good with that. It took me a while to know what I could do and not do with the car and just as I thought I’d figured out the track, the session was finished just like that. Only four laps for me. Only did one overtake too. I ended that session 4th quickest, 2.6 seconds off the pace with my best time of 57.930s. I was just one tenths away from being 3rd quickest. I wasn’t that statisfied with my lap….so I went back in line for another go!

This time I did have to wait for a bit to run on track. Helmets on back to the track for me. This time I didn’t wait to get some action, I was overtaking guys right from the off. I was full throttle all the way apart from the final corner, which I only figured out that you didn’t really need to use the brakes there as well on my final lap. This time I did get held up from a few slower drivers which probably cost me a chance to get a really good lap. I even accidentally spun one guy around. He was holding me up but I didn’t mean to hit him. Honest mistake my friend!

I ended that session 3rd quickest, this time I was only 0.7s away from the top spot. I improved my time by 3 seconds, my fastest time was 54.887s. It was fun racing those go-kart. I mean, it’s always fun racing go-karts. I wish I could do it more often. It was pretty cool to race on an actual F1 circuit, albeit just on the front straight. My silly little dream did come true. The best part of the two sessions was that my two go-karts had my two favourite numbers on it, #2 and #7. I couldn’t have asked for any better. Big thanks to Singapore Airlines, KF1 Karting and Singapore Grand Prix for putting on this event. Hopefully there’ll be another next year. Bring on the F1 2015 Singapore Grand Prix!

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UBS Go-Kart Challenge with David Coulthard – My story of that event

I couldn’t tell you how excited I was when I found out that I was one of the lucky five chose to compete in this event. I mean, we got a chance to race with David Coulthard! Yes, that same guy who drove for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull and have won 13 grand prix in his career! And being a McLaren fan myself, I had always been a DC fan during that era so I got a chance to race one of my favourite drivers in the early days of me watching F1. I’ve done some runs in those fun Go-Karts a couple of times but this was my first time being in a “competitive” racing sessions, those guys treated the whole thing like one. I’ve done some runs in those fun Go-Karts a couple of times but this was my first time being in a “competitive” racing sessions, those guys treated the whole thing like one.

The kind people at UBS picked us up at their offices at Raffles and we made the long trip to Kartright Speedway (which is at Jurong, the very west of Singapore). Kartright was the first “race-track” t o be opened in Singapore in 2010 but this was my first time racing there. The track itself was not bad, best go-kart track I’ve driven at so far. I asked my brother to accompany me to the event and get some pictures for me but the UBS people were lacking some racers to fill the grid of 20, so they asked my brother to join in the fun, that lucky bugger. The first session was the practice session for us contests winners and just before it started, David Coulthard showed up, and of course, I had to meet him right away, it’s DC damn it!

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David Coulthard! Seen him race many times, now I get to see him race real up close

I only realised as we were getting ready for the practice session that most of the people I was up against we were pro-karters themselves or have driven go-karts on a regular basis, with me being the least experienced. I knew I had to do my very best to get into the grand final, my best practice time was just 57 seconds, not good so far. For the qualifying session, I did find some time and got a 53 second lap. All there was left to do was watch the second session and hope I’ve done enough.

I didn’t keep track of my time for most part of that session, just seeing what my brother was doing. He had been doing laps of 62+ seconds for the most time before he did a 57 second lap on his last effort. There were a few guys who did 52s laps and some 53s laps, so I had to wait to know if my time was good enough. I would know if I made it when the published the grid for the “mini-final” and my name wasn’t on it, so I made it. My brother didn’t do so well and finished a lap down but he was suffering with his wrist, just like I was. We didn’t have gloves like most others. Now it was time for the grand final, and I’m happy that I’ve got into that grand final, that’s all I wanted because I knew I wouldn’t be competitive against the others haha!

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Me and the legendary David Coulthard!

I was bound to start 7th and I had the legendary David Coulthard starting next to me. I wished him luck just before we got into our karts and he told me “just have fun out there”. It was a 10 car grid with two guys starting in pit-lane (one was supposed to start on pole but was penalised). DC had a mega start, squeezing his way through the field already and I was trying to pick up the pieces but I couldn’t do much. I tried my best to keep up with the rest but I just couldn’t. Then again, this was my first “race” against people who’ve raced many times before, all I wanted to do was to finish on the lead lap and hopefully not last.

I did get past one guy who was struggling more than myself with a nice outside pass, showing that I can race these guys, too bad I didn’t have the speed. DC had made his way to the front in just two laps but after a while, he drove through pit-lane just to have some fun. The two fastest guys the whole way battled for the lead and finishing 1-2, just not in the order most expected. DC was fighting for 3rd before he slowed down just before the line, allowing everyone to pass him. I didn’t want to beat a legend like him that way so I slowed down too just before the line, trying to make it a dead heat between us but I messed up, David beat me by some 0.2 seconds. I finished 8th in the end but hey, for my first race, I finished side-by-side with David Coulthard, no matter the situation, no-one can ever take that away from me haha! Still wondering if anyone had a good picture of it.

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Ok, so they spelled my name wrongly but that’s ok, my name is just below David Coulthard’s! Now that’s freaking cool.

I was a bit dissapointed with my own race, hoping I could at least fight for a top 5 spot but then again, I never really stood a chance. Oh well, I did get to race with David Coulthard, so that was super cool, and I got to speak to him as if we were good friends. I also got him to sign his book “It Is What It Is” and his 2000 McLaren F1 Minichamp diecast! People have called him the gentleman racer, he sure is a gent! I didn’t win anything but I did get some stuff from UBS and also the cake but that never made it home haha! Big thanks to UBS for setting this up, never had so much fun at an event like this in a long while. How I wish I could do go-kart racing or any kind of racing for a living, now that’s my dream job.

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If only I could do this for real!

Great September so far

I can safely say I’m kinda enjoying this month’s holiday break for me. The way my school works, we study for two months, rest for one, so September is the third “rest” month for me, and so far, the fun one too haha! Not just because the Singapore Grand Prix is just next week, but a few things have been happening too.

This time last week, I was looking forward to seeing WWE legend Booker T in Singapore for the first time ever in a meet and greet session and I got to meet him. This time next week, I won’t just be looking forward to the first days action of the Singapore Grand Prix with Friday Practice but also I’ll be looking forward to meeting F1 legend David Coulthard! Yup, I won some UBS Go-Kart contest to race with him along with 4 others, so I can’t wait for that. The contest theme was about “I love racing”, no surprise that I won right? The picture that won it for me was my 70+ F1 diecast collection. Then again, it does show how much I love racing!

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That’s the picture that won it for me.

Also, this time last year, I wasn’t quite looking forward to returning back to Singapore from my two month stay over in Sacramento, California at my cousin’s place. I had just finished my two year National Service, I had two months of nothing to do, might as well visit my family overseas, better than rotting at home and doing nothing in this hot weather. I do love the weather there, especially at the Bay Area (San Francisco/Berkeley), would love to stay there!

With nothing to do, I’d usually turn to my games and I finally bought White 2 after a year of waiting. The second version feels a lot different than the first version, that much I’ll say. It’s like playing a different version with a few similarities. And yup, I’ve already beaten the champion, easiest league match ever (too much training helps). Also been playing Football Manager 2013 and got Scottish side Queen’s Park from the 3rd division to the 1st division and on course to make it to the Premier Division. Now, what other games can I play before school starts. WWE 2K14 and F1 2013 won’t be coming out soon, so that sucks.

So next week in the Singapore Grand Prix, I can’t wait for it as always. I still have not made up my mind on where I’ll be watching the race from (Sunday’s action I meant). I thought watching the action from Turn 7-8 would be a great spot, too bad my view was blocked by some tall buggers the whole time, should have gotten there earlier. This time, I might decide on Turns 22-23 or Turn 3 (I’ve got walkabout tickets if anyone is wondering). I’ll be walking around the circuit as usual, just enjoying the event. Hopefully I’ll get to meet one of the drivers again, I’ve bumped into one or two in the last few years (nobody last year in Singapore, a number of guys in Melbourne though). Bring on the racing weekend!