Motorcar racing has always been perceived as a male-dominant sport. However, thanks to Toyota, that notion is now no longer as Malaysian actress Diana Danielle, influencer Venice Min as well as singer Geraldine Gan have all been tapped to participate in the automotive brand’s exciting race festival, Toyota Gazoo Racing — alongside other notable local celebrities including Fattah Amin, Janna Nick, Shawn Lee, Shukri Yahya and Danny Koo.

All eight of them aren’t only good-looking onscreen, but can also be highly driven and be bonafide daredevils on the track. For the race festival, Toyota has provided professional coaching and extensive race training to these individuals for over six months now, proving that they have indeed come a long way. They attempted their first race back in August at Batu Kawan in Penang, and this weekend (November 25 and 26), they will be taking on the race at MAEPS, Serdang.

We spoke to the three ladies, Diana Danielle, Venice Min and Geraldine Gan to find out more about their journey and experience so far:

Diana Danielle

1. How do you feel about this whole experience, especially since you’re a mother of two?

It’s never too late to challenge yourself and accept opportunities that come along. For me, it’s like a dream come true because I used to drive on the road like a mad man, and I was notorious. So, being able to take that energy and that rebelliousness onto a safer track is better for me and everyone else in the world. People here take safety so seriously that when I drive on the road now, I don’t do what I used to do because I know it would be dangerous to everyone around.

2. What was your biggest challenge in learning how to drive a race car?

To understand how to work a manual car, but thank God I’m over that now. However, it almost made me quit this race because I didn’t think I would be able to make it at top speed, especially when you’re pressured by the race.

3. Have you ever dreamt of becoming a race car driver when you were younger?

Of course it has crossed my mind because I love driving. I’ve always thought that it was really cool, being a woman especially, but I’ve never expected that that day would come; for me to officially own a professional driver’s license. I had to sit back and go, wow, this is really coming true. It’s a priceless experience.

4. How did this opportunity come about?

Thank you, Toyota for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this. They gave us a lot of training and tips. So it’s not like they threw eight people in without knowing what to do. It was very well-calculated and well-organised. I can’t thank Toyota enough for doing this for us.

5. What does your family think about your new skills?

Oh gosh. So.. my mom knows how notorious I can be on the road. Back when I was on the teenager, she was like, “You know, you should just drive on the track, don’t endanger people.” I guess my mom’s prayers came true.

7. Which is harder? Driving a race car or acting?

They’re both really interesting, but really different. You can like them both equally as much because they satisfy you in different ways. For racing, you really have to understand the rules, but acting is basically about expressing human emotions at the core. I love them both!

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Twinning w @dianadanielleb #femaleracers

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Venice Min

1. How did you get into racing?

Even before this race, I’ve always been a fan of sports cars and turbo cars. In the beginning of 2017, Toyota approached me to become one of their ambassadors, so that’s how I got into racing.

2. What do you like most about the new Toyota Vios?

I actually got a Toyota Vios as a birthday gift a few years back, but it was an automatic car. On the other hand, experiencing a manual-geared Toyota Vios on the race track is truly impressive. I never knew that a Vios could go so fast.

3. How do you mentally prepare for the TGR race?

By having enough sleep and drinking lots of water.

4. How much does staying fit and healthy affect your performance on track?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle affects my performance a lot because we need to be really focused on the race. For instance, you can’t turn the air-conditioning on when you’re racing, so staying hydrated is important!

5. Why, in your opinion, are there not many female F1 drivers? What can be done to change this?

As of today, there are only five female racer as compared to 800+ male drivers. Perhaps it’s because people think racing is a male-only sport, and they don’t really have a lot of female racers to look up to. Since I am a female racer now, I hope that I can inspire and influence many more women to jump into this industry.

Geraldine Gan

1. How do you feel about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?

I feel excited, of course. But also nervous, because I’ve never tried this kind of activity before. Driving a race car is quite dangerous, but I took it as a challenge and went for it.

2. What is the one habit you have that makes you more productive?

Exercise. I run and attend some classes like body combat and cycling.

3. As a musician, how did becoming a race car driver change your life?

It’s a different kind of experience for me. It has opened a new world for me, and I feel proud because I’ve never done this before. It’s exciting!

4. What is the difference between a male driver and a female driver? For example, would you say the former is more aggressive?

Definitely. I can feel this from their performance, but female drivers aren’t all that bad as well, like Diana Danielle who can be really competitive.

5. Any words for someone who is starting out late in attempting obstacle races?

Just go for it! If you love this, don’t let yourself regret for not even trying.

Interested to watch these gorgeous ladies kill it on the track yourself? The Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Festival is scheduled to kick off in grand fashion on the 25th (Saturday) and 26th (Sunday) November 2017 at MAEPS, Serdang.

Entrance is free for all, so rally up your friends and don’t miss out the chance to win up to RM85,000 worth of prizes. Visit Toyota Gazoo Racing’s official website or Facebook page to learn more about the event.

Nadee Mode
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