Date of birth : January 11th 1984
Occupation : Race car driver, student
Education : Department of Sport and Leisure Studies, Korea Univ.
Birthplace : Busan, Korea
Residence : Seoul, Korea / New York, NY
Car Number : 21
Team : F1PILOT.COM Afterburner Autosport
Height : 5.8ft (178cm)
Weight : 148lbm (67kg)
Blood Type : A
Fitness Routine : Running and weight lifting
Goal : Becoming Formula 1, Indycar and Nascar Champion
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
Afterburner Autosport Hires Choi
By National Speed Sport News March 5, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS — Series newcomer Afterburner Autosport will field cars for Korean racer Heamin Choi in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda season.
As part of a planned multi-car effort in the Championship class of the highly regarded USF2000 Championship, Afterburner Autosport has ventured outside the traditional North American ranks to find the first driver for its successful rookie campaign in 2012. In signing the 28 year-old Choi, the two-time SCCA Formula Continental National Championship winners have added an experienced racer with a proven winning record. The two-time Korean sports car champion will contest the entire 2012 USF2000 Championship schedule, piloting an Afterburner Autosport entry in pursuit of both wins and championship top honors.
“We are pleased to have secured Choi for the 2012 season,” stated team principal Tim Walsh. “While he is a newcomer to USF2000 competition, he brings a great deal of experience and success to the team. We are all already looking forward to the season-opener at Sebring.”
“I’m very excited to be joining the Mazda Road to Indy program with Afterburner Autosport,” stated Choi. “In Korea there is no such program to help champions progress up the motorsports ladder. I think the USF2000 Championship is great opportunity to learn and adapt to American autosports, and I know Afterburner Autosport has the experience, crew, and resources to help me challenge for the championship title.”
Choi, who is a native of Seoul, South Korea, first got behind the wheel at the age of 15, racing a kart. After two years of success, including winning the Korean Kart Grand Prix five times, the teenager made his car racing debut in 2001.
Showing good skills right from the get go, Choi captured the inaugural Samsung Everland Speedway Scholarship System award and was named the Rookie Champion Awards Winner by the Korea Automobile Racing Association in 2003. Over the course of the next three years, the Korean racer established himself as an internationally recognized sports car driver, securing the BAT GT Championship Formula Korea A (2005) and CJ GT Championship GT1 (2006) titles.
In 2007, Choi made his North American racing debut, contesting the Star Mazda Championship season-finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Most recently, Choi has contested several touring car and stock car races in his native Korea.
Laguna Seca Race Report
By JDC Motorsports October 27, 2007
Heamin Choi came to JDC MotorSports and the Star Mazda Championship for the final race of the 2007
season. He did an excellent job throughout the weekend consistently improving his lap times and
competitiveness with each session.
“Having run under difficult conditions considering he was a new comer to the series, the cars and the track
where 95% of the other drivers have been with the series from the start of the year, he did an awesome job of
driving within his abilities and passing 9 cars during the race,” said team co-owner John Church.
“We would definitely like the opportunity to work with Heamin in the future and add him to our list of
successful drivers,” added Church.
Team engineer Rick Cameron felt that Heamin would do a very good job for the team given some winter testing
and the opportunity to run the entire championship in 2008.
Given the opportunity to learn the Star Mazda car a little more and become more familiar with the North
American tracks, Heamin should be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Young Dangerous and Free / Driven to succeed from a tender age
By Ines Cho International Herald Tribune-JoongAng Daily January 29, 2003
Fastest speed: 220 kilometers per hour (136mph)
What scares him most: " When Lee Myung-mok, My teacher, doesn't say anything."
If he quits racing: He would be a car designer
His idol: German racer Michael Schumacher
His rival: " I want to race against my teacher."
When Choi Hea-min won the Grand Prix at a go-cart championship for two years in a row, Korea's top car racer, Lee Myung-mok, took notice. Mr. Choi was 15 and didn't have a driver's license.
Mr. Lee became young Mr. Choi's mentor and trained him to compete in the local Formula 1800 Series race in 2001. Mr. Choi finished sixth, even though he was only 17. After training at Mr. Lee's racing school earlier this year, Mr. Choi took fifth recently in the a big race in Changwon, South Gyeongsang province.
Born and raised in Busan, Mr. Choi's first encounter with speed was driving go-carts in Yongin, Gyeonggi province, in 1999. He researched racing on the Web and struck a deal with his father: He could travel to Seoul on weekends to race if his grades improved. But his grades dropped instead.
He still pursued his dream, though, particularly after seeing races on television. He loved the thunderous roar of Formula cars.
A compact 178 centimeters and 59 kilograms (5 feet 9 inches and 130 pounds) and naturally talented, the 19-year-old is considered by professionals in the sport to be a promising candidate to represent Korea in the international racing scene in the future. He is the first recipient of the new Everland Speedway Scholarship System, which helps young drivers compete globally.
Does he ever get scared? "It's a little scary when the car goes into a spin," he says, noting that he hasn't had an accident but has spun off the course a few times. "Sometimes I used to think I could die in an accident. But that was when I didn't know much about racing and thought it dangerous. Now that I know about safety devices, it doesn't scare me much." To compete, he must abide by strict international safety regulations. Drivers must wear helmets and nonflammable suits, and the cars must have a steel roll cage.
In racing, he says, spontaneity and poise are the most important elements once a driver learns the basic techniques.
Last year, Mr. Choi got his driver's license and began tooling about in his mother's sedan, a Hyundai Sonata. He sticks to the speed limits; racing belongs on the track.
Under Mr. Lee's tutelage, Mr. Choi is looking for a sponsor and hoping to compete in Britain or France. Now he's preparing for this year's Formula 1800 series in Yongin
Mr. Choi, a physical education major at Kyungsung University in Busan, keeps in shape by jogging and hour three or four times each week. "Car racers, like pilots, need to build up endurance in order to endure the pressure from the speed and to withstand the centrifugal force on the circuit," he says.
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