Fourteen-year-old Colombian racing sensation to drive for MERITUS-GP
29.03.2010: Oscar: Oscar (left) with MERITUS-GP co-owner Firhat Mokhzani
Colombian racing sensation Oscar Tunjo, touted as the next Juan Pablo Montoya, has signed to drive for MERITUS-GP in the 2010 Formula BMW Pacific
Colombian racing sensation Oscar Tunjo, touted as the next Juan Pablo Montoya, has signed to drive for MERITUS-GP in the 2010 Formula BMW Pacific which flags off next weekend.
The son of a car salesman in Cali, Colombia, Tunjo has been racing competitively since he was just three-years-old and is the youngest driver to be recognised by a federation of global karting by passing the Mobil Karting School in Colombia. He is also the youngest driver to receive a license as a novice pilot when he was five.
Oscar: Oscar (left) with MERITUS-GP co-owner Firhat Mokhzani
Two years later, he was crowned the national champion in the Easy Kart expert cadet, an event closely associated with former Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Tunjo has now set his sights on going one step further than the Colombian icon by one day winning the Formula 1 world title.
But first, Tunjo has to take his first steps in single-seater racing when he makes his debut for MERITUS-GP at the Malaysian Grand Prix where he will be the youngest driver on the grid
“Getting my FIA license approved for this season’s Formula BMW Pacific was the happiest day of my life,” said Tunjo. “I’m looking forward to this year’s championship as I believe we have a good car and should be challenging for the title once again.
“I can’t believe it has been 10 years since I dad first took me to go karting on my birthday. It was love at first sight and even at that young age, I knew I wanted to make a career out of racing.”
After his initial success in Cali, where he was beating kids nearly twice his age, Tunjo continued to improve and has since won championships in Spain and the United States,
He was enticed to race for MERITUS-GP as the Malaysian company has an unsurpassed winning record. It is also recognised as the best training ground for F1 aspirants, as evident by its collection of former drivers who have graduated to the highest level of racing.
“My dream is to make it to Formula 1 one day and I see Meritus as the perfect stepping stone for me,” said Tunjo, who, surprisingly, chose Michael Schumacher over Montoya as his favourite driver.
“I’m always at the garage watching the mechanics and technicians working as I want to understand the car better. Meritus has produced champions like Jazeman Jaafar, Ross Jamison, James Grunwell and Rio Haryanto and I want to be spoken in the same breathe as them.”
Young he may be, but Tunjo is certainly going places.
BIOGRAPHY Date of birth: Jan 5 1996 Current age: 14 Place of birth: Cali, Colombia Resident: Mont Kiara, Malaysia Website: www.oscartunjo.com Height and Weight: 169cm, 62kg Hair: Black Eyes: Brown Blood type: A+ Hobbies: Karting, gym, video games Sports: Football and swimming Favourite drink: Manzana Postobon a soda from Colombia Favourite meal: Pasta Start of racing career: Three-year-old karting school in Cali First success: National karting champion Colombia when five-years-old: Most memorable experience: Getting FIA license to compete in Formula BMW Pacific Best Podium: All podiums
Q&A with Oscar Tunjo Q: How did the contact with Meritus-GP happen? OT: After meeting up with Peter Thompson. Meritus has a great reputation and working with him was easy. Q: What attracted you Meritus-GP? OT: Team work, professionalism, and a family feeling Q: Where did you race before? OT: In Colombia, Spain, United States Q: What did you do the most recent weeks to stay in shape? OT: I have a personal trainer at the gym. I go four hours a day, two hours in the morning and another two in the evening. Q: How do you prepare for each race, mentally and physically? OT: Mental trainer to stay focus and a personal trainer to keep fit. Q: Do you have any superstitions before a race? OT: No Q: When looking at the calendar and at the track maps, which Formula BMW Pacific circuits will you enjoy most? OT: Sepang and Singapore Q: What is your favorite circuit in the world? OT: Sepang Q: Are you a good son? OT: Of course! Q: Do you have brothers and sisters? OT: Yes, Goncclo Tunjo, who is also my manager and Valentino Tunjo, who is a singer Q: Do your parents support your racing career? OT: All the time Q:: What is your best quality at home? OT: Discipline Q: What is your best racing quality? OT: Always giving my best Q: What languages do you speak? OT: English, Spanish and Italian Q: Which driver do you admire most? OT: Michael Schumacher
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