Girl drifter spills what puts her in the hot seat

Leona Chin poses for a photo-shoot. SUNPIX by ZULFADHLI ZAKI
SUNPIX by ZULFADHLI ZAKI

THROWING a giggle or two in between, Leona Chin gushed about the dashing looks of the loves of her life, how fast they can go and how she could identify each of them by the baritonemoans they make.

Now if you know this "girl drifter" well enough, you'd know that she's actually talking about cars – not so much a list of dreamymen. Since she learned to drift about nine years ago, there was no turning back for Chin, who remained on the radar screen as a professional motorsports athlete.

When she's not burning rubber, the 28-year-old keeps busy as a freelance advanced driving instructor and owner of Kuraz Motorsports and Events, which respectively provides performance car parts and organises professional motorsports events. The finance major graduate from Subang does circuit racing, autocross and gymkhana as well but she cited rally racing as the toughest one of all.

"I went rallying in 2013 with no prior training.

I literally learnt as I drove through the estates, it was a culture shock.

I really had no expectation to win or anything but to return in one piece!" Chin joked.

When she's not challenging her stamina on the tracks, Chin enjoys playing Gran Turismo on her PlayStation 3 and walking her dog, Bubu.

You're often associated to cars and motorsports. Tell us three things that people don't knowabout you yet.

I used to play percussions (drumand xylophone) in my high school's marching band; I love to shop at Ace Hardware and I want to buy everything in it! I am actually a nerdy person and I love computers. In fact, that was the catalyst to my drifting career. I had checked in my 1989 Nissan Silvia to have its faulty engine looked at, at the workshop. The mechanic, who's now a popular drifter, told me that I am able to drift with my car and asked if I wanted to learn. In exchange for lessons, I was supposed to build him a website. To cut the story short, I mastered drifting in two nights.

What's your spirit animal?

The tortoise in the tortoise and the hare story, because (being) slow and steady wins the race. Also because I used to adore the Acura RSX (compact sports coupe) which sounds like 'kura-kura' (tortoise in Malay). I was so obsessed back then that I had a drawing of a tortoise on the roof of my car!

Do you ever get bored of being labelled "the only female player" in the scene?

Yes! I do get uncomfortable when I'mbeing put on the pedestal simply because there are other Malaysian ladies in motorsports.

What do you have to say about the stereotype "women cannot drive"?

Just the other day, a (male) friend of my friend who was getting married, was driving us bridesmaids around. Something happened along the way which made him loudly remark about another motorist, "Must be a lady driver!" To which I immediately retorted, "That's sexist!"

He must have no idea about who you are!

No, he didn't. But yeah, I think it's time for the stereotype to die. I'm here to prove that women can drive! (laughs).

What do Malaysian drivers do that irk you most?

I hate it when they swerve into another lane without switching on the indicator. And when they double park!