SINGAPORE - At the workshop for the Karting Training Programme and Championship yesterday - organised by Singapore GP Pte Ltd - the most frequently asked question was, "What's the fastest time around the track?"
Even before they stepped out onto the race track, the 120 successful young applicants were serious about the need for speed.
As part of the build up to this year's Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, which will be held along Marina Bay from Sept 19 to 21, race promoters Singapore GP have added a karting training programme and championship.
This is to give fans the experience of a sport most drivers use as the first step to a professional career in Formula One.
Singapore GP received 830 applications, of which 120 were randomly selected to form two age groups: 15 to 17 and 18 to 21 years.
The youngsters will learn how to race in the small motorised vehicles and battle it out at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Aug 30.
The winner from each age group wins a year-long scholarship worth $11,850 funded by Singapore GP and KF1 Pte Ltd, and includes a Singapore Motor Sports Association (SMSA) karting licence.
Before any racing, they had to undergo a theory and practical session over two days ( June 11 and 12).
The practical session started off at Turn 3, just after the Pit Building along Marina Bay.
Kenneth Wong, a member of the SMSA who conducted the sessions, was impressed with the eagerness of the students.
"The hardest thing for these students to learn is gaining confidence on the track," he said.
"That comes with time; it's not something we can really teach.
"The emphasis during the sessions is on safety - we have a whole station on how and when to brake."
Azizul Hakeem, 20, a polytechnic graduate, found karting harder than he imagined.
"The one thing that surprised me was that karting is really more about driving technique rather than just speed," he said.
"I haven't gone as fast as I want to yet; I'm saving that for the heats."
The applicants will race in the heats on Sunday, before the field is narrowed to 60 for the main event in August.
This article was published on June 13 in The New Paper.
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