Kim loves female screams

Kim loves female screams
Eunji from Nine Muses races against her teammate Kyungri in Top Gear Korea.

South Korean rapper-turned-TV host Kim Jin Pyo, 36, loves the thrill of racing in fast cars on motoring show Top Gear Korea.

What also gets him excited is hearing the screams of female guests such as sexy South Korean actress Clara and K-pop girl group Nine Muses.

"I am happy to be with female guests. I get more excited when they scream. To be honest, Clara and Nine Muses weren't very good at driving but their presence was big enough to honour our programme," he says in an e-mail interview.

But he is no sexist decrying bad women drivers. "There are male drivers who drive more poorly than average women," he says.

In fact, in his five seasons of hosting Top Gear Korea, he is most impressed by the driving skills of actress Kim Ok Bin.

"Kim Ok Bin recorded quite a fast lap-time among female guests. She had confidence while driving and this was a feature I couldn't find in other guests."

Kim Jin Pyo, Danny Ahn of K-pop supergroup G.O.D. and singer-actor Alex are the hosts on the fifth season of the South Korean version of popular British motoring programme Top Gear.

The trio are also joined by celebrity guests, including hip-hop artist Tiger JK and comedians Kim Won Hyo and Kim Ji Min, who take the wheel on the show.

Each week, viewers are kept on the edge of their seats with electrifying car stunts and races.

Kim Jin Pyo, a daredevil who hosted all past four seasons, is back for more action despite having experienced many heartstopping moments.

One particularly dramatic race on Season 4 even made it to international news outlets such as CNN, BBC and Time magazine: a gripping race between a Corvette and a low-flying helicopter ended with the chopper crashing to the ground.

Kim, who was driving the Corvette, says: "When I saw the helicopter crash, I couldn't believe what I was seeing with my eyes. Thank God that no one was hurt and the footage could be aired.

"I felt God really helped us at that moment because at the spot where the helicopter crashed, there were about 50 crew members, but debris fell only where there was no one. It was too amazing to be just a coincidence."

While Kim, who starting racing in 2006, acknowledges the dangers of the sport, he says he is still in love with the adrenaline-pumping activity. His favourite car is the Porsche 997 GT3.

The former member of South Korean duo Panic and rapper group Novasonic says: "I have been through many accidents but none of them was as dangerous as the accidents I got into while shooting Top Gear. However, if you stick to the safety rules, it will keep you safe from many threatening accidents."

Kim, who is married to actress Yoon Joo Ryun and is the father of a seven-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter, adds: "The beauty of racing can't be explained in words. You've got to experience it.

"To some people, it's just a mere competition against others, but it is a battle with myself. When you win against yourself, you can stand proudly on the podium. You get to experience the ecstasy and sense of accomplishment."

nggwen@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 12 in The Straits Times.

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