Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Korean Teenager Steers a Course to F1

Mun Sung-hak is the only Korean working in Europe to become a Formula One driver. He's now participating in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, a kind of minor league for car racing. "I went to Europe because I wanted to compete with better drivers," the18-year-old racer said without a hint of fear.
"When I was just five years old, my father put me on his lap and let me drive a car. I remember that moment vividly; I can't forget it," Mun said. He made his debut in Formula Renault last year as the youngest in the class, finishing a respectable ninth out of 30 racers in overall rankings.

Training in Europe for the young Korean was harsh. He spent about 10 grueling hours a day behind the wheel, and if he cried over the pain he was told he could pack his bags and go home. Exhaustion would set in as he put in more than 100 practice laps on the track daily. Eventually he had an accident, with his car skidding and then slamming into a protective wall while attempting to overtake at 180 km/h.

"My mind went totally blank and all I could think was that I was going to die like this," Mun said. "I was able to survive because of the car. I was afraid of driving again for quite a long time after that, but I got my confidence back as time passed and my performance got better."

Mun knows he's chasing a rare dream. "Thousands of people try to be a Formula One driver every year, but only one or two are lucky enough to be selected," he said with his eyes shining. "If you dream of being a Formula One racer, you have to be nothing but the top."


Anonymous said...

Hi Bruno,

Stumble into your blog after visiting on some F1 site. I'm was a fan of McLaren & Kimi. Still a big fan of Kimi but not used to seeing him in red haha. Just so happy he finally won the WDC in 2007 after a couple of misses. Of course I hope he does it again this year. Go Iceman!

Ms Singapore

Alex said...

Congratulation to Mun Sung-hak. Being the first in Europe, how nice for him. Good luck to you.