MIA Asked… Leona Chin, The Malaysian Professional Motorsport Athlete

Hey Leona. How’s it going? You made a name for yourself in the motorsport world, and you are widely known as the Girl Drifter. Can you share with us about yourself and your journey to become a professional racing driver?

I started liking cars when I was in high school. Most of my classmates were male and they influenced me to like cars. I got my driving license at the age of 18 and once I got into college, I convinced my mom that I needed a sports car and that’s how I got my Nissan 200SX. In between, I also used Google to learn more things about cars as well as drift videos on YouTube.

How did you get into racing?

I met a drift car racer and coincidentally when he found out that I drove a sports car, he wanted to teach me drifting and I immediately said yes! In return, I helped him to run his website since he wanted to start a drift team. I went on to become his admin for his website and that’s when I learnt to design. I was given the opportunity to learn the basics of drifting from him at a Go-kart centre, and at night I was given training about an hour or two every weekend. After a year, I joined the search for the Red Bull all-female driver as they were looking for drivers to have a go in a 12-hour endurance race in Sepang.

You have shared about your journey into racing with us but what inspired you to be a drifter?

One day I was visiting a drift show because I was amazed by it but I didn’t have the chance to sit in the car. This one friend of mine knows the drifter and he introduced me to him. The drifter was happy to lend me his helmet and let me sit in the car for the first time, and that’s how I got into drift.

What is your passion other than racing and drifting?

I like video editing and I frequently upload videos on my YouTube channel relating to motorsport, gadgets and travelling mostly around Asia.

What was your greatest accomplishment as a driver and a drifter?

Up to date, the CLIO Cup China Series and Championship where I won second overall.

By being a professional motorsport driver, there are no escaping risks. Do you have a way to overcome your nervousness once behind the wheel?

I overcome it by going for practice runs before the race. Always keep calm, breath, and don’t do silly mistakes.

We have seen the famous Initial D and its famous Toyota AE86 Trueno. Do you have any cars that you prefer to drift or race in?

Currently, I am using the Nissan Silvia.

Why?

Silvia is a good and well-balanced car. I have a collection of Silvia and the best one yet is the S15. If I have enough money to spend building up a new drift car, it will still probably be the Silvia but I will upgrade the engine to a Toyota Supra engine, twin turbo.

Do you see this sport growing in the next few years?

Since it is a niche market, only people who like cars will follow this sport. In Malaysia, motorsport is gaining and the audience can be reached thanks to the advent of technology like live streaming and the younger generations.

Can you see yourself to be a part in the World Rally Championship?

Personally, I tried rally before but it wasn’t to my interest. My interest lies in my strength which is circuit racing though drifting remains as my favourite past time.

Anything you wish to share with the readers?

Drive safe and no speeding on the road. If you want to drive fast, do it on the track – that’s where you can prove yourself. Your proving ground is on the track, not on the street. If you like racing, go for track days and test it out.