8 December 2014

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A One-day Practice on the AsiaCup Single Seater Car
1 December 2014, Sepang International Circuit

“The AsiaCup is a FiA designated “International” motorsport series, designed to provide a platform to transition from karting to formula motorsport without a huge financial burden on our racers and their families. The drivers will experience professional motor race engineering services from the multi-championship winning Meritus.GP and of course, the Sepang F1 Super Circuit is steeped in F1 heritage.”
The BMW-powered FB02 that complies with all FiA crash test requirements to the highest possible safety standards, providing equal opportunity for all competitors, ensuring that the ability of the driver is the heart of the competition.” 
– extracts from www.meritus.gp

Indeed, with Jon turning 15 in July this year and graduating from karting, junior category at the end of the year, we decided to let him experience a one-day AsiaCup paid practice, on 1 December 2014. Preparations before the practice included buying a new set of nomex socks, inner wear, shoes and gloves. In addition, an FIA approved race helmet with HANS clips is also required. Coincidentally, his dad’s GP5 helmet fit him nicely and also comes equipped with the HANS clips.

Jon arrived at Sepang International Circuit a day earlier on 30 November afternoon to mold the seat according to his body frame and seating position, try out the fire proof suit loaned from the organizer as well as attending a briefing.

There are four practice sessions on 1 December, with each session lasting about 55 minutes. The weather was good and at the start of each session, all the cars were lined up outside the pit, ready for Jon to begin his practice along with 6 other drivers. This will be his first time driving a single seater race car and driving on the Sepang International Circuit. During the first session, Jon ran wide at one of the fast sweeping corner and ended in the gravel. Upon understanding the limits of the car and familiarizing with the track, Jon was able to improve his driving step by step.

He also ended the second session with blisters on his right palm from the continuous hard shifting of the gear lever. Thereafter, the mechanic added paddings to the shifting knob and Jon was able to concentrate and improve on each session.
From the first session till the forth, Jon was able to better his lap times by more than 8 seconds and was just about 2 seconds away from the other experienced drivers participating in the test.

“The experience is totally different from driving a go-kart. Driving the BMW FB02 on the straights can reach up to 190 km per hour compared to the fastest speed of about 120 km per hour on a go-kart. In addition, the straps are really tight, which restricted my movement and makes it hard to make turns on the corners. Nevertheless, it was a great experience that I truly enjoyed it. Now I can understand the difference of driving a race car with suspensions as compared to a race kart”, said Jon.

We are now considering letting Jon try the AsiaCup in 2015, which usually takes place in the middle of the year. Stay tuned!

more pictures of the practice can be viewed here (30 Nov) and here (1 Dec)

6 December 2014

Rotax Asia 2014 (championship standing)

Picture courtesy of www.kartingasia.com 

Rotax Asia 2014 wrapped up its final round (round 6) on 12 October at Sepang International Kart Circuitlaysia. Jon finished in 17.

After six intensive rounds of racing, Jon was placed 16th out of 47 drivers, and first among the group of karters from Singapore.

Looking back, 2014 did not start off well for Jon as he had a major accident in the round 1 Pre-final where his kart flipped and tossed him into the air, losing critical points and tearing his leg muscle badly in the process. As a result, Jon had no choice but to stop his regular training and spent most of his time undergoing physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatment. The recovery process was slow. Making a comeback on the tracks was equally challenging. But Jon persevered and competed in the remaining races. To his credit, he finished most of the rounds in mid-pack position as he struggled to manage the pain from his injury and the stress of school work in Year 3.

We are hopeful the worst is behind him and believe the experience will only make him stronger mentally and physically.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their well wishes and concern. Jon has a lot of catching-up to do in 2015 so he is really looking forward to getting behind the wheel again for a better year!

Happy holidays to all!

Picture courtesy of www.kartingasia.com
(Kart no. 133 Jon Lee - second row on the extreme right)

29 May 2014

Asia Max Challenge 2014 (Round 3)

Asia Max Challenge 2014 (Round 3)
24-25 May 2014, Malaysia Sepang International Karting Circuit.

Asia Max round 3 was originally scheduled to be held at Pekan but then it was changed to Sepang. Jon is returning to race at the track where he experienced the kart flipping incident. For this round, the team arrive earlier on Thursday evening to test. After just a few sessions, it seems that Jon is already up to pace.  Confidently preparing to go faster on Friday but further testing revealed some problems with the engine and set-up. As the track condition changes, Jon’s pace seems to be getting worst.

Sat Qualifying saw Jon only managed to secure 26th position from the 35 drivers. The qualifying time he set was much slower than Fridays’ testing times. It was definitely not the position that the team anticipated as compared to the last race at Elite where Jon qualified 8th. Nevertheless, he was able to gain back some positions in Heat 1 and 2, 16th and 19th respectively.

In Pre-Final, Jon starts from position 17th but a pile up in turn one saw Jon dropped all the way to the back and he can only complete the race at 28th. In the Final, Jon’s engine seemed to have severe power loss. Even after gaining some positions, he was not able to defend on the straights and eventually ended at 24th position. The team immediately started investigating the engine and kart set-up thoroughly to find the root of the problem upon returning. It can be see that due to Jon’s physique change as he grows taller, the set-up is no longer suitable. Based on that, the team worked to re-set the kart in every aspect and will test to find the right ones before next race in Perlis.

Perlis will be a new track for everyone and Jon is hopeful to regain his performance again.