PIONEER MAGAZINE FEATURE – DRIVEN

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Despite good showings at races, local driver Lieutenant (LTA) (NS) Gerald Tan remains hungry for bigger successes.

Ask LTA (NS) Tan about his favourite cars of all time and almost immediately, a string of numbers and letters come forth. Like most petrolheads, he refers to cars by their chassis codes (which tell the model and variant).

At 10, a ride in a Honda Civic EG6 – a small Japanese car which remains a legend to car aficionados even till today – sealed his love for cars and driving. “The sound of that engine revving intoxicated me,” recalled LTA (NS) Tan, who served National Service (NS) as a Motor Transport Officer (MTO) in the 40th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment.

Going faster

His first car, a manual BMW E36 318is Coupe that he bought during his NS days, bore the brunt of that love. “There wasn’t much of a clutch to speak of after nine months of abuse,” laughed LTA (NS) Tan.

The next one, a Subaru Impreza WRX STi, took him to tracks in Malaysia. In 2005, he took home the distinction of being the fastest in that car model (road-registered) around the Sepang race track, which is also the venue for F1 racers in Malaysia.

The next few years saw him racing mostly in Malaysia before he scored a podium finish in the 24-hour endurance race series in Dubai last year.

The avid sportsman attributes his racing passion to a desire to push himself to his limits.

“I’m satisfied only when I reach the point where I cannot progress further,” said the 29-year old, who is a former national bowler and competitive golfer.

“I’ve worked with professional mechanics and engineers to review my driving and they tell me that I just need the chance to break through to the next level. That’s why I’m constantly pushing myself to see where I can go.”

Personal highs

Off the racing track, he runs a factory for his family’s rubber trading business. He had a head start in this role due to the training he received in logistics management from his time as an MTO.

“Managing a family business might seem to be an easy job, but there is a lot of pressure to perform,” said LTA (NS) Tan, who has to travel abroad every week to manage the company’s operations.

The father of one (with another baby on the way) credits being able to withstand his gruelling schedule and his passion for racing to his time in NS. Speaking of the confidence it gave him, LTA (NS) Tan said: “NS had a huge influence in my life. I had a better understanding of myself after the tough training that I underwent to become an officer.” 

Check out the introduction of the race car and the racing footage on the Ipad version of Pioneer.

http://www.mindef.gov.sg/content/imindef/publications/cyberpioneer/people/2012/sep12_people2.html

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