Gregory Teo squints his eyes and focuses on the track ahead. Drivers around him start revving their engines. His heart pounds madly. A man in orange overalls waves the green flag and he jams his foot on the accelerator.
It’s a far cry from his day job as executive director of Citispa. The company’s 20 outlets of spas and aesthetic clinics are more associated with relaxation than the aggression of sports-car racing. But this adrenaline rush is precisely what draws the 40-year-old to the motor sport.
“The moment I step on the accelerator, I feel like I’m released,” he reveals, referring to work stress. It helps, too, that the sport has improved his driving on normal roads.
His passion was sparked by a lifelong interest in cars. As a boy, he had a poster of a Ferrari pasted on his bedroom wall. Today, he owns a sleek red Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and is a member of the Ferrari Owners’ Club Singapore. The club organises track days where Ferrari owners can drive up to Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia to test out the true capabilities of their rides on actual racing tracks. It was there he had his first taste of speed.
So, when Singapore’s first Formula One race commenced in 2008, he leapt at the opportunity to participate in its minor races. The first was the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, where 23 drivers competed on the Porsche GT3, a model that resembles a road car but is intended for racing.
“It was like a dream because Singapore doesn’t have a proper track,” he says. “For a Singaporean to race on a Singapore track – it’s every driver’s dream.”
Since then, he admits to being “addicted”, taking part in races every year. While he can’t nail down the number he has participated in, it ranges from one to as many as seven per year.
Thankfully, he has had no injuries or accidents. “It’s actually safer than speeding on the road because it’s a controlled environment,” explains Teo. “We’re all in fireproof overalls, and the helmet has been tested to withstand impact. Safety is never compromised.”