5 minutes with Jazeman Jaafar, the first Malaysian to win the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in Monaco
Jazeman Jaafar is one step closer to achieving his dream of becoming a Formula One driver after winning big in Monaco recently.
Celebrated as Malaysia’s brightest young motor racing star, Jazeman Jaafar is currently basking in the success of clinching the top podium spot of the Formula Renault 3.5 race in Monaco on May 24. Formula Renault 3.5 Series is one of the supporting races to the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Jazeman Jaafar displays outstanding driving skills at the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in Monaco.
A visit to a go-kart track at the age of six sealed the deal for this young man. He began racing competitively in go-karts at the age of seven and tasted his first victory a mere one year later. Jazeman was issued with an International C license at just 14 years old, one year younger than the standard age.
At the rate Jazeman is zooming forward on the race track, his dreams of becoming a Formula One driver is almost within reach. We managed to speak to the 22-year-old via email about his racing experience and the big win in Monaco.
What was the Formula Renault 3.5 race in Monaco like?
Monaco is one of the races I was really looking forward to. It is one of my favourite circuits and I showed up having the confidence to win. Free practice and qualifying went very well for me as I qualified in pole position.
Unfortunately, I had a problem with my car just before the race started and was so close to not being able to race. The team did a fantastic job in turning around and fixing the parts of the car with just a few minutes to go before the flag-off while I kept my focus, going on to win the race at the end.
The highlight of the weekend for me was being able to hear our national anthem "Negaraku" being played, as I stood on the podium.
Posing with his trophies after winning the Formula Renault 3.5 race.
Starting from go-karting at the age of six, you sure have come a long way. How has your journey in motorsport been so far?
It’s been a long, challenging journey. I treasure every moment of highs and lows I have experienced in the sport. Nothing comes easy but I'm proud to carry my flag and represent Malaysia in racing at a very high level.
What are the challenges you’ve faced throughout your motorsport career?
At a tender age of 8, I remember telling my parents that my dream and goal is to become a Formula One driver but I was very aware of the big challenge that lay ahead. I had to leave my family and friends to live abroad and pursue my career. It taught me to become more independent. I've learned so much on this journey from new cultures to furthering my knowledge in motor racing and much more. I have no regrets.
What are the high points of your racing career so far?
There has been plenty of exciting moments throughout my racing career but the highest point so far is definitely winning the Monaco race at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix weekend.
What motivates you?
The support of my family has motivated me to become who I am today and that has inspired me to keep going. I want to be a successful Formula One driver.
Jazeman looks to his parents, Dato' Jaafar Abdul Hamid and Datin Latifah Atan, as his pillar of strength.
(Photos: Jazeman Jaafar)
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