About Opai Naufal

Opai Naufal started kart-racing as a 10-year-old, almost by accident.
His father, a former kart-racer and mechanic, was tuning karts for his peers and would often use Opai as a test driver. It was through his father’s guidance, and countless laps on the track, where Opai learned about the finer points of the sport.
His talent as a driver did not go unnoticed for long. He was soon winning races at home and in the region, and rose from a Cadet to Senior driver.
One of his most impressive performances came in the 2006 Asian Karting of Championship in Macau, where the unheralded Opai beat some of the region’s best racers to win the title.

FACTFILE
Born: 08 December 1988
Age: 23+
Height: 168 cm
Weight: 68 Kg
Nationality: Singapore
Category: Senior
Languages: English, Malay

HONOURS
Kelab Kart Selangor (1998)
Ford Malaysia Kart Prix (1999)
Kejohanan Kart Prix – Malaysia (1999)
Fort Malaysia Kart Prix – (2000)
EON Challenge Asean Kart Prix (2000)
Ford Kart Prix – Malaysia (2001)
ASEAN Kart Prix – Malaysia (2001)
ASEAN Kart Festival – Malaysia (2001)
Rotax Max Challenge – Malaysia (2003)
Asian Karting Open Championship – Indonesia (2003)
Asian Karting Open Championship – Philippines (2003)
Asian Karting Open Championship – Langkawi (2003)
International Kart Race – Macau (2006)
Asian Karting Open Championship – Macau (2006)
ROK Cup World Final (Italy) –  25th (2007)
Asian Max Challenge (Malaysia) – 2009
Asian Max Challenge (Malaysia) – 2010
Singapore Karting Championship – 2010
Asian Karting Open Championship – Macau (2010)
Singapore Karting Championship – 2011
Asian Karting Open Championship – Macau (2011)

Q. What do you like about kart-racing?
Opai: I love the adrenaline coursing through my veins when I drive, the speed and the challenge of negotiating every turn and bend. It’s an exciting sport and I love the thrill.

Q. What makes you a winner?
I think my mental make-up is strong. I always have confidence in my ability, and I am always quite zen about things. I seldom get nervous or fazed ahead of big races.
Winning is everything to me, which was a double-edged sword to me in the past.
While the desire to win pushed me along, I didn’t know how to cope if I don’t.
Now, after guidance from my trainers at Drakar, I understand that if I don’t win, I must accept it and see how I can improve and work on my weaknesses.
Another thing about me is that I have a very strong will. If I am determined to do something, I will do everything within my power to achieve it.

Q. You used to be a test driver for your father.
How did that help hone your skills as a driver?

It was through all those test drives that I learned about racing lines and braking
points, and on when and how to push my car and when to ease off. There’s nothing
better than “on-the-job” training on the track. It was tough, but very fruitful.

Q. You’ve progressed through the levels and won several races and titles.
Are you satisfied?

Tasting success only make me hungrier for more. I am young and ambitious.
While I am happy that I did relatively well in the past, I am also fully aware
that if I don’t keep working hard, I will soon be overtaken by younger and more
talented drivers. At Drakar, we have many young talents coming up. They provide
me with good competition, albeit in a friendly way.

Q. So what’s the next step for you?
It is my dream to race for Singapore in single-seater Formula cars. I want to be a
professional race driver and I am glad that Drakar have given me a firm grounding
in racing. The team’s support is invaluable and, they were there for me when
nobody would. And for that, I would forever be grateful.

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