With her pink T-shirt, black mini-skirt and black boots, you would never have imagined that the petite girl in front of you is the first-ever female Chinese formula racing driver. Wings Tang Wing-sze, 20, who appeared on stage at the New World Centre Arcade last Friday with McLaren Mercedes' new race car, MP4-15 2000, looks more like a model. But two years ago, she was a full-time racing driver. Wings is now a first-year student at the University of Hong Kong, majoring in literature. 'My father is a fan of formula racing, and he encouraged and supported me when I said I'd like to start racing,' said Wings. 'Every time there's a race, my family sit in front of the TV and watch it together.' Wings learned to drive in 2000 when she was 15, and soon took part in Formula Campus races in Zhuhai . Before long, a racing team in Beijing selected her to attend a Formula 3000 training class in Italy for two months. 'At the beginning, it was really difficult. I was not used to sitting in such a car and the impulsive force was so strong that my bones ached. It was especially hard when turning corners,' she said. 'But I never thought of giving up. I was very happy when I won first place in the race held in Macau after the training.' When asked about competing with male drivers, Wings smiled. 'They are men - if they win, it's as expected; if I win, I feel very happy. I don't take this kind of competition seriously, and my main goal is to come home safe and sound,' she said. Wings says she never treated racing as a career. She describes the sport as a hobby, and 'hobbies aren't the same as careers'. That's one of the reasons she stopped being a full-time driver in September, 2003. There are, of course, other reasons. 'My parents have already done too much for me and put in a lot of money; I don't want to put more burden on them. If you win a race, you get a trophy and prize money, but the money is not enough to support you,' she said. Sars hit Hong Kong while Wings was racing, which meant she didn't have much chance to practise and sponsors were scarce and reluctant. Wings decided to stop racing and further her studies. 'I'm now studying literature, but I'd like to be a journalist in future,' she says. But she hasn't forgotten about racing and says she would encourage anyone interested in racing, be they boys or girls, to give it a go. 'It can be a good career for a person who loves cars and is passionate about being a full-time racing driver - if they have enough money,' she said. 'I hope to be a journalist, but if a girl asked me for advice about being a racing driver, I would say, 'You can do it!''