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 won the 2013 Asian Le Mans Series 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.
Congratulations on winning the 2013 Asian Le Mans Series LM P2 Team and Driver Championships. How was the race for you and the team?
First I would like to Thank everyone that is involved with ASLMS organization, S2M and Topspeed China. This race was a tough one for myself and the entire Oak Racing Total team. After starting from the front row in second, I managed what was to be a brilliant start, but unfortunately I crossed the starting line just 0.007 of a second ahead of the pole sitter which meant i was to give up my lead into the back of the LMP2 field. From there the race really became difficult. We knew we only have one way to win the championship which was to win the race. I was on a good pace but after multiple laps of side by side battles with Winslow, I used up too much of my Michelin tires and was unable to advance further up the field. The team readjusted our race strategy and took a gamble and my Co driver Ho Pin Tung basically drove consistent qualifying laps the rest of the race to retake the lead and open up a insurmountable gap.
How do these titles feature in your motorsports career?
2013 has been the best year of my motorsports career so far. Winning a LMS title anywhere in the world is an incredible achievement in itself. But to be crowned the first ever champion in the top class of the inaugural year of the Asian Le Mans Series is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Especially for me being a Chinese driver to win an Asian title means more than any other LMS title. So for my Career this ranks at the top. But also for Winning my first race of the season in the 12 Hours of Sebring in the American Le Mans series would rank second on that list. And at number three would be our Winning our China home race in the Asian Le Mans Series at the 3 hours of Zhuhai.
What do you think gave you the edge in Sepang, and overall in the 2013 series?
Overall this season for me was an extremely long but fulfilling season starting in February in America where i drove five out of the ten rounds to help my PR1/Mathisen Motorsports team and teammate take the Championship there. Also taking part in two rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship with Oak Racing to help them take the World Championship.
For the full season of Asian Le Mans series the rivalry with KCMG was so close the whole year. Motorsport thrives on the essence of competition, so I want to thank them for being such great competitor on track, which gave this championship even more meaning.
This 3 Hours of Sepang race is probably our greatest challenge of this season as it all came down to this and all the odds were stacked against us. But what gave us our edge with the people involved in our program. Every single crew member of our Oak Racing Total team gave it their all. My co-driver for this race Ho Pin Tung who went above and beyond what we thought our Morgan-Judd LMP2 on the Michelin tires is capable of. Our sponsors Total Lubricant China and Orsun Group (Wuhan) who supported us through this year and took the pressure of the finance off our backs which allowed us to focus on the racing. and the moral support of all my family, friends and our Fans.
As a results of you and OAK Racing Team Total winning the Team Championship, you will be racing at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans. When will the preparation for this begin? And what will it include?
The race ended on Sunday and the preparations began on Monday. For me this off season is a chance for me to better myself for the challenges of the next. The greatest Victory is the one over ourselves. I’m spending this off season working with my physical trainer Simon Hayes at Performance Physixx, who’s worked with guys like Kimi Raikkonen, and Ryan Hunter-Ray. Also my mental performance trainer Jacques Dallarie at Performance Prime who’s worked with countless high performance athletes including Aryton Senna. Also i’ll be looking to put together a comprehensive testing and simulator program.
Will you be back to defend your Asian Le Mans Series title in 2014?
One thing i would like to add is that 2013 has been a tough year for our racing community, we’ve lost many drivers and friends. My friend Scotty said it best that “Remember much of what we do in life, or the better motivation for our efforts, is done for those who cannot, or aren’t around anymore to do it.” I believe there is a special bond between all racers in our spirit of competition. So without Question. We’re already close to putting our partners in place for next year. And you can count on me returning even stronger and better for 2014.
And I would like to dedicate this 2013 Championship to Dan Wheldon, Allen Simonsen, Maria De Villota, Sean Edwards, and my personal friends Roger Rodas and Paul Walker.
LM P2 Team Champion OAK Racing Team Total celebrate their LM P2 victory