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Macau Grand Prix

Oh, baby! Macau Grand Prix has nothing on the endurance race of fatherhood for new dad Darryl O’Young

Hong Kong’s only driver competing in Macau takes on the best in the GT Cup, a month after the birth of his first child

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 November, 2017, 12:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 November, 2017, 9:36pm

The stars have aligned for Hong Kong driver Darryl O’Young ahead of this year’s Suncity Group Macau Grand Prix as he celebrates his 30th year in motorsports and becoming a father for the first time.

“Her name is Dylan Leah O’Young and it’s been just over one month,” said the 37-year-old Blancpain GT championship driver. “She is my biggest endurance race to date – it’s a steep learning curve – but it’s an amazing feeling.”

O’Young, who will don the familiar yellow and green of his Vita Lemon Tea-sponsored Porsche 911 GT3 R in Macau, marks his 30th anniversary in the sport by teaming up with reigning FIA GT World Cup and Macau champion and fresh Porsche recruit Laurens Vanthoor.

“I’ve raced against Laurens for many years and known him for a long time,” said O’Young, who won the Macau GT Cup in 2008.

“Having last year’s champion in the car with me gives support to the team – teamwork is what will bring us success.”

After an unfortunate outing in last year’s Macau event – Audi’s Edoardo Mortara crashed into O’Young’s car in the final lap of qualifying, forcing him to miss the finals – O’Young is determined to make amends for his 14th consecutive appearance in Macau and brings a good run of form.

“I feel like I’m at the peak of my driving performance,” he said. “I recently finished third in a touring car championship in Wuhan, China, and I have a good feeling going into Macau; everything is building up correctly.”

O’Young first entered the Macau circuit back in 2004 and said it was the “springboard” for the rest of his career.

“Macau is very meaningful to me. It’s my favourite because it’s where I won my first ever career cup [in 2005]. It brought me some recognition and gave me the opportunity to race internationally.”

Despite being the sole Hong Kong driver to participate this year, O’Young expects to thrive in the wealth of “elevated competition”.

Upclose with Darryl O'Young

“In all the races I’ve raced in Macau, this is the highest level yet,” he said. “You want to be competing against the best and that’s what we’ll be doing this weekend.

“Being the only Hong Kong driver … it’s been like that a lot over the years. There has always been that sense of urgency, but I’ve built up experience and don’t feel pressure to perform.

“Driving under pressure isn’t good; you have to put things aside and concentrate on just you and the circuit.”

O’Young hopes to cap off an eventful year with a strong result in what he calls a “home race”, but the Hong Kong veteran also has another long-term agenda to push.

“The perception of motorsport in Hong Kong was that it wasn’t really a sport,” he said. “It’s been a journey and we are constantly passing the torch, from drivers like Albert Poon and Charles Kwan – representing the history of motorsport in Hong Kong – to the last 10 years, where I’ve been focusing on bringing the sport to the next level.

“I’m only carrying on what these people have done over the years, but we’ve come a long way and the next 20 years will be very bright.”