Sunny Wong ’97 – Racing Driver

Sunny has been a Hong Kong racing driver since 2009. He previously competed in the China Touring Car ChampionshipAsian Touring Car SeriesHong Kong Touring Car Championship and Asian Formula Renault Series amongst others. Although he is a part-time racing driver, he shares with us his passion and what it takes to compete in a race…
  • Name: Sunny Wong
  • Graduating Year: 1997
  • Years at CIS: 5 years (Yr7 – Yr9, Yr12, 13)
  • College & Degree:  B.A. in Babson College (Boston, USA) & MBA (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
  • Current city of residence: Hong Kong

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your career?

Part-time racing driver.  It’s not a job, but I try to act professional and take it very seriously whenever I go to a race.

What motivated you to get into motorsport and racing?

At first, it was the love of cars and speed.  Later on, I started to enjoy the competitions and working with the team to find that fraction of a second.

What does it take to be a high-level motorsport driver?

Don’t be afraid to fail.  In motorsport, you face failure more often than other sports, because a lot of the time even if you perform perfectly, you still cannot get the results you want.  Mechanical failure, a flat tire, someone runs into you… all kinds of things that you cannot control will find you.

What has been your biggest challenge in relation to motorsport?

Whenever I go to a new circuit, I have to learn it quickly and develop an optimal car setup.  I can’t get it right every time.  I am still learning how to learn new circuits.

What has been your most entertaining, and/or rewarding experience in relation to motorsport?

Through this sport, I met a lot of great drivers, people, friends from different disciplines.  A lot of respect is given to and earned from rivalries as well.  Sometimes a race win looks easy because no one on the circuit was able to catch you, but only people in the sport will understand the amount of hard work that has been put in achieving a victory.

If possible, can you briefly describe how you would typically prepare for a race?

Races are often hosted on Saturdays and Sundays, so drivers usually arrive at the venue on a Wednesday or Thursday.  Team members arrive one or two days ahead to set up the garage and make sure the equipment and cars are working.  Then there will be 2-3 practice sessions (normally 30 mins each).  Time is very limited so we have to try different settings and find our optimal one before the qualifying sessions. After qualifying, this is the last chance to fine tune the settings.  Finally just double check, triple check all the bolts and hoses before the race starts.

Do you have any tips for alumni (or their children) who might want to get into a motorsport-related career, whether as a driver or in another role?

Motorsport is a commercial sport because it’s expensive to begin, even more expensive to sustain. If there is no business behind, there will be no funding to operate the race team.  Make yourselves a valuable package by not just being a quick driver, but also combine all your knowledge into motorsport to help your team grow.

Think back to when you graduated from CIS, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Find one or two hobbies or sports you really love and focus on them.  We all have limited time and there are too many distractions out there.  No one can be an expert in all fields.  If you really want to master in something, you have to sacrifice something else.

What was your most memorable CIS moment?  How did your CIS experience contribute to who you are today?

The multi-culture and Bilingual learning environment definitely gave me better opportunities.  For myself, I race a lot in China/Asia region so Chinese is the main language I speak.  But I also constantly work with foreign engineers and different experts in this field so the ability to interact and blend-in with different people is crucial.  Sometimes I also act as interpreter between engineers and Chinese members to ensure information isn’t lost in translation.

Who was your favorite teacher at CIS?

Mr. Bernado in computer class.  He taught me in summer school before I joined CIS in 1990.  During my CIS years we played basketball together.  He is very smart, has a good sense of humour, and has a memory like a super-computer.  I remember I walked into him a couple of years ago on the street and he still remembers me by my name.

What was your favorite subject at CIS and was it related to anything you actually ended up doing?

Favourite subjects were arts and P.E., I was never good at studying and reading.  P.E. in a way I think help children to develop their physique and body senses, which are essentials in any sports.  However, I think if you have a strong background in physics, you can better understand motorsport.  Everything about motor racing can be explained by science.  There is no magic in it.

Please read the following questions and write down the first answer to pop into your mind (3-second limit ):

  • What is your favourite movie/production: Star Wars
  • What do you have for dinner on a weekday: Typical Chinese home cooking
  • What would be your last meal on death row:Full fathamburger with milk-shake and fries
  • If you could have a one-hour conversation with anyone – historical or current – who would that be and why: My sister Lily, who left us in 2001.