Motor racing sensation Marchy LEE Yin-Kin will be nominated for the Hong Kong Sports Stars Award by the Hong Kong Automobile Association, after dominating the 2004 Formula BMW Asia series and claiming the title with 4 races still to go.
"Marchy is an outstanding reflection on Hong Kong sports development, especially in a sector often overlooked by the government and sports policy decision makers. We will continue to monitor his progress, and will actively assist him in any possible way as his career develops," said Andrew Windebank, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Automobile Association.
Entering its 19th year, the Hong Kong Sports Stars Awards recognises outstanding athletic achievements and provides role models and inspiration to the general public, while promoting the development of sports in Hong Kong. Lee is possibly the first nominee from the sport of motor racing in the awards' history, which will hopefully garner greater support from the Hong Kong government and sporting bodies in the future.
"This nomination means so much to me, because I never dreamed that motorsports would be so well recognised here. I hope that this will inspire other youngsters to get into the sport at an early age, because it takes a long time to reach the top! I would recommend karting from age 8 for 6 or 7 years, then moving into Formula BMW Asia, which is definitely the best formula in Asia at the moment," said a delighted Lee.
There are no racing circuits in Hong Kong, and the last remaining karting facility was closed down in 2002; this makes Lee's achievements all the more impressive. Lee first drove a kart at the age of 13 when a friend took him to a kart track in Mai Po. Lee fell in love with the sport immediately, and begged his father to buy him his own kart so that he could take the sport up seriously. Fortunately, Lee's father was an accomplished racer himself, racing in sports cars such as the Porsche Carrera Cup and beating several present day champions. Lee's father granted his son's wish, and Lee devoted all his time to the sport.
His natural talent soon showed itself, and Lee began winning championships very quickly. After a successful year in Hong Kong, Lee had to head to Japan in order to find stiffer competition, and triumphed throughout his 2 years of racing over there, including a win at the 1993 Asia-Pacific Karting Championship.
In 1997 Lee made the natural progression in to car racing, stepping into the China Formula Campus series. Out of eight races that season, Lee took eight pole positions and six race wins. After this championship win, Lee once again had to leave the region, this time to France and the famous La Filière racing school. There Lee's racing skills were further honed by top racing coaches, and in 1998 he finished fourth in the French Formula Renault Campus championship (top Chinese racer), racing against some of the best racers in Europe. The following year Lee moved up into F3, and this time finished fifth in the French F3 championship, once again the top Chinese finisher.
Lee returned to Asia in 2000, continuing to race in various categories such as the Macau Grand Prix (top Chinese finisher in 2000 & 2001), Asian F3 (double winner in 2002 rounds 9 & 10) and Porsche Carrera Cup Asia (winner 2003 Johor Baru round). 2004 sees Lee's career take real direction under the management of Peter Thompson and Meritus Racing. Irishman Thompson ran Lee in the new Formula BMW Asia series, which has become the highest profile formula in Asia. Lee once again proved his ability against the best in Asia, winning 9 of the first 10 rounds, and claiming the championship with four races to go. This domination puts Lee in good stead for moving into a higher formula in 2005, with his sights set on the new GP2 series.