Our interview today is with one of the members of OAK Racing Team Total's all-Chinese driving team David Cheng.
David has driven in every round of the 2013 Asian Le Mans Series and is currently in second place in the LM P2 Drivers Championship. Born in Beijing David has a huge amount of experience for someone so young, including the U.S. F2000 National Championship, American Le Mans Series (in LM PC/Formula Le Mans class), MME, Grand-Am Continental, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia, Formula Masters China, Asian LMS and more, consistently achieving wins and podiums around the world. David has also recently been confirmed as one of OAK Racing's drivers for the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai in November. We find out how his year has been, when his passion for driving started, and about taking part in Asian LMS.
Hi David, as well as competing in Asian LMS what else have you been up to this year?
2013 has only been better [than previous years]. Focusing on LMP cars we started off the year with a win at the 12 Hrs of Sebring, which nominated me this past June as 1 out of 10 Outstanding Youth by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chinese Overseas. Since then I've competed in 4 more rounds of the American Le Mans Series including this past weekend at Petit Le Mans where our PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team just took the Drivers Championship for my full time co driver by 1 point. For me this was only 1 week after our Oak Racing Team Total just took the win in Zhuhai.
How was it to win your first Asian LMS race in China with OAK Racing Team Total at 3 Hours of Zhuhai?
The win in Zhuhai was very important and special. We needed to take this win in order to turn the championship around and take the fight to KCMG, without it our title hunt would have been lost. But aside from that it was critical for me, and I'm sure for my compatriot teammates, that we win our home race in front of our families, friends, sponsors and our fans who came out in huge numbers to give us their support.
How did you get into motorsports?
I was first introduced to racing at the age of 12 when my friend's father took us karting, as soon as I first drove I knew it was what I wanted to do. But in my early years of karting I had to hide it from my mother as she did not approve, thinking it was too dangerous. So in those years I saved up all the money I could, from lunch money to birthday and Christmas money, to sneak out with my friends and their parents to go karting.
What does competing in Asian LMS mean to you? And what do you think it means to Asia?
To be able to have the honor of taking part in the inaugural season of any series, but especially the Asian Le Mans Series is beyond a dream for me. I've always loved Le Mans style sports car racing. For many drivers F1 is the ultimate goal, but for me the 24 Hour race is my pinnacle. But to be a part of this great organization from the start and having a hand helping forge the future of this sport is a very unique opportunity. Being a Chinese driver I hope what I can accomplish will help grow the sport and the industry to new and unseen heights throughout China and all of Asia.
With both the Team and Drivers Championships on the line how are you feeling going into 3 Hours of Sepang?
We all know what is at stake. I'm going into this race with a clear, confident and focused mindset. How this race will come out no one can predict, all we can do is our absolute best and that is what my Oak Racing Team Total team brings every race. I also know that I have the full support of my teammate Ho-Pin Tung and I have 100% confidence in him as well. We turned the momentum of KCMG at Zhuhai and we're only going to bring it harder going into the finale round. KCMG you've been warned!
What plans and goals do you have for the rest of the season and for 2014?
To be honest my main focus has been to finish this season strong. of course with the successes of 2013 there's been many offers on the table for the 2014 season. But it is important that I make these decisions with not just the best interests of myself but also with my partners and sponsors as well in the coming weeks. Rest assured Asian Le Mans Series is on the top of that list for next year, regardless of the final outcome.