Careers

Being a race car driver is about more than just racing cars

Yuey Tan has taken his love for driving to extreme levels.

Tan, based in Singapore, is a professional race car driver in the Porsche Carrera Cup, an international motor racing series. He has scored sponsorships with both Under Armour and Porsche.

CNBC recently followed Tan on his journey preparing, competing and reflecting on Singapore's Grand Prix weekend.

Tan, who races just a handful times per year, has found other streams of income aligned with his love of the sport. His wife Claire Jedrek, also a race car driver, and he opened The Karting Arena, a go-kart track in Singapore. "My wife and I built it for the exposure of the sport to try and get into everyone's head that motor racing is fun," he said.

They've also opened a media agency after identifying what they deemed an opportunity for additional film and video production houses in Singapore. The idea came to them as they were struggling to find reputable vendors for their own races.

So how hard is it to go professional in racing?

"The first realistic goal is to try and be funded for it," Tan said. "Finding sponsors is equally important to driving the car — some would argue that it's more important."

Tan said finding the right sponsors is all about good sales skills and aspirational drivers need to strategically go after companies that might make a good fit and meet a lot of people: "A lot of people say no."

"If there's advice I could give, make sure some of your fund is on self-promotion, rather than spending it on the fastest car you can have," he said.

This year, Tan competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup during Singapore Grand Prix weekend, during which racing was only part of his job. At Porsche's party, held between several days of racing, Tan was mingling with guests and sponsors.

"Racing is not a cheap sport," he said. "The high and mighty are involved and the luxury products and services."

"Motor racing is much more than cars on a race track, it's almost a lifestyle," he said. "For the drivers, teams, mechanics, marketing and reporters — it's a traveling circus."