27 June 2011, Sepang, Malaysia – There’s a growing interest amongst younger women in the driving scene of late and Red Bull is making this possible through the Red Bull Rookies programme which was first initiated in Malaysia in 2008. A year later, this programme was replicated in Brunei and this year, female drivers in Singapore were given this opportunity.
23 year old Research Officer from A-Star, Emmiline Ang and 26 year old nurse from the National Heart Centre, Melissa Huang competed for a spot to join the Red Bull Rookies to compete in the Sepang 1000 Endurance Race in December this year.
The two of them were selected out of a pool of over 500 other under 30 female drivers who signed up for Redbull Female Driver Search roadshow held in Singapore in February this year. 24 were selected for the go-karting race, followed by 12 to six and eventually these two were finally selected. During the Red Bull Female Driver Search, the two of them impressed the panel of judges throughout the selection process based on their physical condition, ability to be a great team player, good racing techniques, excellent interpersonal skill race craft, and mental acuity, and personality.
It was a wet morning at the Sepang International Circuit during the race, and I was getting a little concerned for the drivers. Not only was the circuit new to the girls from Singapore, I was sure they were definitely not very exposed to wet weather driving as well. However a week before the race, the candidates from Singapore and Brunei underwent a full day defensive driving course of both theory and practical sessions where they went through intensive training modules in learning the critical and essential aspects of racing – advanced driving, defensive driving, physical training, team dynamics and racing techniques.
But lucky enough, the rain stopped and it did get very hot by the time it was noon.
Red Bull Rookies Background
The Red Bull Rookies was formed in 2008 based on the Red Bull Female Driver Search 2007. This programme aims to find, fund and nurture, up and coming female drivers to form an all female racing team. Initially conducted within the Klang Valley, the first batch of Red Bull Rookies took part in the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race 2008. A year later, another nationwide driver search was conducted and the team took part at the inaugural Sepang 1000km race.
Red Bull Rookies is made up of a team of four. Two of the team members from Malaysia, Mark Darwin (21) and Siti Shahkirah Shaharul (17) worked very closely with the Singaporean and Bruneian participants during the competition. Sharing their experience at the Sepang circuit and mentoring their foreign counterparts, there was strong team spirit amongst the team members.
When the names of those who made the cut to the team, a very sweet Emmiline looked stun shocked and surprised to win a position in the team.
Well, congratulations to Emmiline once again, and I am sure she will have a blast training together with team members Ogy, Siti, Mark and team manager, Mr. Kenvin Low as they prepare for the upcoming Sepang 1000KM race in December.
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