Category Archives: Malaysia

Sepang 12 hours Provisional Entry List for the December 2015 Race

Great news! SRO and SIC have released the entry list for the upcoming Sepang 12 hours endurance GT race and the list is pretty lengthy full of exotic machinery including Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborhini Super Trofeo Huracan, Audi R8 LMS Cup, Porsche 991 and 997 GT3 Cup, McLaren 650S, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and of course a Honda Civic Type R, Toyota GT86 and a Subaru STi Imprezza to balance things out. Oh yeah, there’s a Lotus Exige there too, a total field of about 26 cars if they all show up.

sepang-12-hours-entry-list

Download: click here.

What’s really interesting about this entry list is not so much who’s on it but where I found it. With SRO’s new involvement in a partnership with Sepang International Circuit (SIC) this event is part of a bigger picture. And I don’t mean like Asian Le Mans Series was (which was the last event I marshaled at Sepang a few years ago), but instead it’s part of a new SRO series called Intercontinental GT Challenge which will also include the world famous Spa 24h race – the crown jewel of the Blancpain Endurance and Sprint Series. As well as a new event at COTA if that place doesn’t go out of business, and Bathurst 12h. What’s most interesting about the Bathurst connection is that’s where I found the entry list posted, not on the Sepang 12h web site but on the Bathurst 12h web site.

I think this points to good things to come in the near future .

I’m excited!

MX-5 Miata Road Trip

I launched a new Facebook Page for my favorite pastime: MX-5 Miata Road Trip’s: www.facebook.com/MiataRoadTrip

I’ve been blogging quite frequently about the trips I’ve taken in my NC Miata, mainly to get to a race track Upstate New York or up to New England. But that hobby is about to take me internationally, with a trip to Southeast Asia booked in early December 2015 and another to the Pacific in February 2016. I’m making it a priority to meet up with any and all MX-5 owners I can on the road. Hence the MX-5 International Road Trip.

I’m hoping that the facebook page would allow me to make new connections as well as to share some pictures from my meetups without mixing the content with my Motorsport hobby that I also blog about frequently: Marshal Cam (#MarshalCam) as well as the Foodie Tours that I enjoy very much and also blog about separately. I have a feeling people visit this site for each of the things that interest them most and perhaps not all of them want the Marshaling, Foodie Tours and Miata stuff mixed.

For the International trips, except of course for my future drive up to Canada, I won’t be taking my car. So my goal is to meet other owners and take as many pictures and videos of their cars as they would let me. I am also planning on perhaps renting a few MX-5’s and sharing those experiences in the blog and on the facebook page as well. I think it would be pretty awesome to read and based on a few searches I did thus far, there’s nothing like it out there (except one kiwi page from a few years ago that promoted MX5 Roadtrip’s – it was hard to find perhaps because of “roadtrip” used as one word).

So hopefully this works!

Go ahead and like the page to have all that content pop up on your Facebook feed automatically. www.facebook.com/MiataRoadTrip

mx-5 rmiata oad trip

Where Can I Rent the New ND MX-5 Miata?

With several trips coming up in the near future, I’m curious to learn where is it possible to rent the new Mazda MX-5 Miata for a few days of driving?

It might sound like such a simple idea but save for a few “MX-5 rental” exclusive places like those in New Zealand or the UK, I haven’t really come across many major rental car chains advertising the new ND Miata in their fleets. I’ve read about the possibility of renting a track spec Miata for the big Mazda MX-5 get together at Laguna Seca in California, which is neat. I’ve also seen plenty of other track rental Miatas like those pictures I posted from Flatout Racing at Thompson Speedway, but nothing from Hertz or Avis, Budget, National, Europecar, Sixt, etc.

Why?

I would really be interested in considering a Miata rental while, say in the Cook Islands. One of the TripAdvisor reviews mentioned a tourist talking about their green MX-5 convertible hire in Rarotonga. How cool would that be. How expensive would it be? The rates posted on the Kiwi MX-5 Hire Car web site on the North Island of New Zealand were in the $50+/day which is crazy expensive. On the other side of the spectrum, South Florida is where I regularly rent cars for $10-$20/day and while searching for my own Miata have come across a number of cars on eBay with “Fleet” designation on their car history report. But when it comes to rental car companies, I can’t say I’ve seen any MX-5’s as rentals in a sea of Chevy Camaro’s, Ford Mustang’s and of course the Ferrari and Lamborghini exotics that you can easily find on every corner of South Beach. Who’s got the Miata’s?

Would love to find out more about this…

Buy a #MarshalCam Patch. American or Australian Versions. Or Both!

A few things to accomplish in this post:

1st: I wish to express my gratitude to my buddy Joey in Singapore for designing the Marshal Cam patches which I have recently re-ordered to distribute to marshals that participate in my interviews about their volunteering experiences.

2nd: I will have both versions of the patch with me at the following events to distribute to marshals that wish to participate in my interviews:

  • WEC 6h of the Americas at COTA in September
  • Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October
  • Sepang 12h – Malaysia in December
  • Bathurst 12h – Australia in February
  • Auckland Car Club – New Zealand in February

3rd: If I am not at an event near you and you’d really like to get a patch for your collection, you are welcome to buy one or many. Just get in touch about pricing and shipping charges and we could set up a package for you in no time.

The patches cost me $400 USD for 400 pieces. My break even point is to sell 100 patches at $4 USD apiece (or more at a cheaper price). Plus shipping and handling charges which killed me the last time I mailed out a ton of the original Marshal Cam patches, paying for everything out of my own pocket.

I am going through serious withdrawal right now, my last event was NASCAR at Watkins Glen in early August and it’s been a month without any volunteering whatsoever. So I’m eager to get back to the race track. I’m also very much looking forward to traveling again. Especially to my trip back to Southeast Asia!

bangkok kuala lumpur singapore road tirp mx-5 miata mazda

For any of you on the list of stops above I’ll be sure to have patches with me if you’d like to meet over lunch or dinner and catch up about marshaling in your neck of the woods. I’m sure that besides my right hand drive Miata exploits in Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur I’ll be hanging out with some marshal friends too.

Again, huge thanks to Joey in Singapore for designing these awesome patches, they look fantastic!

marshal cam patches america australia usa

The original Red, White and Blue design resembles the American Interstate system sign. While the Green and Yellow design resembles the Australian Interstate system sign. They were designed specifically for my trip to Bathurst in February of next year, and I’m very much looking forward to that journey.

Stay tuned for more, and get in touch if you want one, or a bunch!

#MarshalCam

Mazda MX-5: International Road Trip to Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Shanghai, China

My trip to Southeast Asia in December just got a whole lot more interesting. In the past I’ve always gone to the region for the racing – have marshaled in both Singapore and Malaysia many times. I’ve always loved going there for the amazing food. The beautiful landscapes, the beaches, the architecture, etc. But this trip will take on another dimension: Mazda Miata’s!

I’ve made contact with a few clubs in the region and the response has been amazing. I’m so looking forward to this trip!

bangkok kuala lumpur singapore road tirp mx-5 miata mazda

For anyone interested in checking out the local Car Culture or the Car Scene, or the Miata Community check out the following clubs:

miata club of thailand

f-thailandMiata-Thai Club:

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miatathai

web site: http://www.miata-thai.net/

 

miata club singapore miata sg

f-singaporeMiata Club Singapore: 

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/5736449818/

f-malaysiaMX-5 Malaysia Club:

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mx5my

web site: http://www.mx5my.com/

mx-5 malaysia sea sepang circuit

My goal on this trip is: to meet up with as many local MX-5 owners as possible. It will be pretty exciting because the cars are RHD (right hand drive) and while very similar to mine, are quite different. (Except of course for the Shanghai MX-5’s which should be identical). Besides the obvious difference of where the steering wheel is located, I’m sure to see quite a lot of modifications people do to their cars in Asia. One of the more intriguing things I’ve seen on the forums above so far is the Aston Martin Miata look:

aston martin miata mx-5 thailand
photo credit: Decha Apiromdej

Obviously quite popular in both Thailand and Singapore

aston martin miata mx-5 singapore
photo credit: Woon Ming

Besides the modded cars there’s also special sights to check out, like the Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram or Bira International Circuit in Pattaya, Thailand:

chang international circuit destination of speed miata mx-5
photo credit: Tanet Zoom

I’m not sure if time will permit to actually visit any of the circuits besides Sepang International Circuit where I’ll be volunteering for Sepang 12h but it would be nice if something like that materialized.

My schedule will be as follows:


 

f-thailandBangkok, Thailand: Wed, Dec 2 to Sun, Dec 6

f-singaporeSingapore: Mon, Dec 7 to Tue, Dec 8

f-malaysiaKuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Tue, Dec 8 to Sun, Dec 13

f-chinaShanghai, China: Mon, Dec 14


 

While in Bangkok I’ll be free most of the time except for Sat, Dec 5 when I’ll attend a wedding. I should be flying out to Singapore at like 2am Monday morning which will give me almost two full days there. I’ll arrive Kuala Lumpur Subang airport around 6pm on Tue, Dec 8 and stay in the city until Thur, Dec 10 at which point I’ll probably make my way to the Sepang International Circuit for the weekend of racing. And then leave straight from the track to the airport for my 2am flight to Shanghai Monday morning. While the other cities in Southeast Asia I have visited many times and know my way to get around, Shanghai will be my very first visit. I will also only have about an 8 hour layover which realistically means I’ll have a whole of 4 or 5 hours free to roam the city. Pretty busy schedule if things go as planned!

Stay tuned for updates about this trip… and if you are reading this from any of the destinations on my trip and want to meet up, please get in touch via facebook, twitter or by replying to this post.

Cheers!

Flights Booked to a Wedding in Bangkok and Sepang 12h Piggybacked on That Trip

Just a few days ago I was day dreaming how nice it would be to go back to Southeast Asia after almost two years of being away, and I found a perfect excuse to commit to it: my FlyerTalker friend Brian is marrying a beautiful Thai girl in Bangkok a week before Sepang 12h.

Score!

This is going to be such an amazing journey I can’t find words.

This is also the first time I’ve paid for a flight to Southeast Asia, all of my previous trips, and there were plenty of them, were booked using frequent flyer miles. But with two Euro Trips this year and a trip to the Pacific next year I’ve blown through my frequent flyer / loyalty program budgets, on most airlines.

Luckily “The Flight Deal” facebook group alerted me to a reasonable deal on United Airlines to fly between Newark, NJ and Bangkok for just $684 bux. I figured getting from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur shouldn’t be too pricey but just for giggles I checked open jaw flights arriving Bangkok on this deal and leaving from KL, the price was only $27 bux difference which is less than what a low-cost airline would charge on that route, so I booked directly with United EWR-NRT-BKK and KUL-NRT-EWR for the trip back. The stop over in Tokyo introduces a new airline and a new aircraft I haven’t flown before: ANA Airlines and the Beoing 787 Dreamliner. Very cool!

great circle mapper ewr-nrt-bkk kul-nrt-ewr
original route: EWR-NRT-BKK and KUL-NRT-EWR  | map courtesy of Great Circle Mapper: http://www.gcmap.com/

UPDATE (8/16): by the time I got home from work other (cheaper) options opened up. So I cancelled my booking, since it was within the 24 hour period that a customer is able to change his/her mind, and re-booked my flight to go ANA from JFK-NRT-BKK and then Shanghai Air from KUL-PVG my first visit to Shanghai. I will have a 9 hour layover there and fly United back to Newark PVG-EWR. All in all pretty happy with the ability to visit three of Asia’s most amazing cities: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai for $707! Of course I’ll be sure to add Singapore to the mix with one of the low-cost carriers.


great circle mapper jfk-nrt-bkk kul-pvg-ewr
new route: JFK-NRT-BKK and KUL-PVG-EWR | map courtesy of Great Circle Mapper: http://www.gcmap.com/

Now I’m left to determine what to do in Bangkok for about four days before the wedding, find my way down to Kuala Lumpur the week after, and squeeze a side trip into Singapore for a day or two. Easy!

I’m amazed with all the low-cost airline options that are now available on the route from BKK to KUL/SIN. Air Asia and Thai Air Asia fly it. Jetstar Asia, Tigerair, and Scoot from Singapore fly it. Indonesian airline Lion Air (probably operating as Malindo Air) and Thai Lion Air fly it. And the prices are reasonable from Don Mueng Airport DMK which is a new airport for me, I’ve never used it when in Bangkok. On the legacy front there’s Bangkok Air which is an option. But most interestingly Malaysian Airlines have decent flights for cheap because of their battered reputation, I just may give them a go.

So I’m just thrilled with this development, even though I have no idea how I’m going to fork out all this money especially with flights to Texas for WEC and Georgia for Petit Le Mans area already booked, as well as the Dubai 24h trip planned, and the Pacific trip booked and paid for. I’ll have to work extra hard this summer just to stay afloat.

I’ve also posted on the Miata.net forums if any of the local MX-5 owners in Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore would like to meet up. I’d be so interested in checking out and possibly test driving a right hand drive Miata.

Stay tuned for more updates on this and other trips!

thailand

I love Southeast Asia…

Planning a Return to Southeast Asia for the Sepang 12 hour

It has been nearly two years since my last trip to Southeast Asia, and I really miss the place! So while browsing online articles about racing I noticed a schedule change for the Sepang 12 hour event, which I’ve yet to do. Not only that, the SRO of the Blancpain Endurance Series has become involved in promoting the event. And judging by the success of the amazing Spa 24 hour race I recently returned from I think it would give a much needed boost to the GT race in Asia.

So I’m going to sign up as a marshal.

For one getting out of the NYC area in December is an awesome thing just to get away from the snow and cold weather. And there’s no better place to go than Southeast Asia. I miss the food. I miss the people. And I do miss the racing at the Sepang International Circuit.

I will also use this opportunity to plan a side trip to either Singapore or Thailand, or both. It would be great to lounge on a beach for a few days and stuff myself with amazing cuisine.

But the racing will be wonderful also. The news reports from earlier this year suggested that the recently re-structured Asian Le Mans Series which I’ve done in December of 2013 would be held just a week after the SRO Sepang 12h event, but more recent articles suggest the dates have been changed to either November of this year or January of next year. Either way, if there is something interesting happening immediately before or immediately after the Sepang 12h race I’d love to spend another weekend in the region.

It is worth noting that the Sepang 12h this year will fall on the same dates as the Gulf 12h at the Abu Dhabi Circuit in UAE. I’ve done the Gulf 12h two years ago before flying to Sepang for the Asian Le Mans Sereies 3h race, and it was a spectacular event on an amazing circuit. Hopefully both events will see good participation among the global and regional teams. I suspect that some Aussies would choose Sepang over Yas Marina, and possibly more Asian teams would participate there, while European participation would be diluted among both, I think. Either way, it’s nice to have options!

sepang-12-hours-sro

This news has gotten me really excited. And I can’t wait to plan the trip out using frequent flyer miles I must scramble together from different programs because I don’t have enough in any individual one of them at this point (most were used for the trip to Australia Pacific in February). So stay tuned for more!

“Bad Marshal!” Wag Finger… Wag Finger…

Earlier I was scolding myself for signing up to do an event and not actually going after getting accepted (MotoGP at COTA). I hate when other people do it and I hate to find myself in the same situation. I haven’t made it a habit but it has happened once before. A year ago I applied to work the Grand Prix of Long Beach in California and had to withdraw my application because of a new job I started. They didn’t allow me to travel. But as bad as that act is there are worse things marshals could do that would have all sorts of people waging their fingers when they see pictures. Especially pictures of a marshal sleeping on the job with F1 cars racing around in the background:

sleeping marshal - sutton images - sepang
Photo by Sutton Images from Sepang International Circuit, 2015 Malaysian GP

This photo of a “relaxing” fire marshal leaning against the ARMCO with a speeding F1 car on the other side of it shows the marshal in potential danger. Danger that he put himself in. And basically it makes all marshals look bad because people tend to paint us all with the same brush whenever one person does something wrong, we all take the blame for it.

But that picture is hardly a one-off incident. There has been photographic evidence of previous wrongdoing, like this marshal captured on camera sleeping during the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai:

Getty Images Photo of Sleeping Marshal at the Chinese Grand Prix

The photo even made it onto the Wall Street Journal web site:

A race marshall sleeps as Ferrari Formula One driver Alonso drives past him during the second practice session of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
Wall Street Journal: Sleeping Marshal during Chinese Grand Prix

Unlike the Malaysian fella who’s clearly a fire marshal with a sleeping fire extinguisher next to him, this Chinese marshal has an unknown role. He’s not a flag marshal, there’s no flags he’s responsible for waving. He’s not a fire marshal, there’s no fire bottle he can waive. He could be a spectator marshal or one of the tow truck drivers that work with the recovery marshals enjoying his downtime in what seems like the worst possible spot: next to a hot track! (against the crash barrier/tire wall). Bad marshal! Wag finger, wag!

If you think bad marshal behavior is limited to the far east, check out this professional marshal from Monaco:

Daimler/Hoch Zwei Photography Monaco Grand Prix sitting marshal

The rules for marshals are clear: you must be ready at all times whenever cars are on track. Sitting is forbidden when on duty. And despite a fancy helmet and heavy duty gloves, this fella would not fare well against flying debris if he had to get out of the way in a hurry, especially with the racing line so close to his marshal post. This is a mistake on the part of the marshal. But we all make mistakes. The typical day at the track, especially during the Formula One weekend is pretty long and filled with a lot of “hurry up” and “wait!” It gets boring, and it gets tiresome. People that work by themselves, like all the marshals pictured above get especially bored, tired and sleepy.

This is not me making excuses for marshals doing something wrong. And definitely not for those that got caught on camera by the big media wigs like Sutton/Getty/etc. It just sheds some light on what could be happening, and what circumstances we work under. I also wanted to point out that by reducing marshal numbers, like many tracks have done (including the ACO for Le Mans 24h this year) spreading out marshals thin only contributes to the potential boredom, at the very least marshals should work in teams of two or more to keep each other company and watch each other’s backs.

Many tracks are also uptight about various rules, and at some point marshals get burned out trying to adhere to them. I think we as a marshaling body around the world should take note from the Japanese marshals. Who are known for doing things by the book even when such procedures may result in a horrific crash like the one  at Suzuka last year. But they know how to keep morale up, and this is one of the ways during the track inspection:

Japanese Grand Prix marshals welcoming Charlie Whiting to Suzuka

When a similar inspection takes place in the US or Canada, Race Control instructs marshals to look their best, professional. Where the Japanese instead use the opportunity to show they’re not robots. This particular photo shows Charlie Whiting doing a track inspection for F1. In addition, the recent training video I got from USAC for the MotoGP event at Indianapolis showed the Japanese marshals doing similar stints for the MotoGP track inspection… performing the wave, dancing, etc.

You think the FIA or Charlie frowns upon them goofing off? Hell no!

Getty Images: Japanese Grand Prix marshals during Track Inspection

He does not! In fact, as per the interview in the Australian GP Gazette by Lynne Huntting of PressSnoop.com Charlie Whiting actually encouraged marshals to express their uniqueness during the track inspection, even allowing them to take pictures at that time. Crazy! Or maybe not, maybe he recognizes the importance of keeping people focused on the goal of putting on a safe weekend and preventing the volunteers from burning out over the long hours of sometimes boring event where nothing exciting happens.

So lets collectively wag the finger at the marshals that got caught sleeping at previous events. And lets do something about it in the future. As far as I’m concerned there are no Malaysian marshals or Chinese marshals. We are all FIA marshals working to the same standard and should uphold the same professionalism no matter where we work.  Be safe folks!

Who provides the best Marshal uniform for an Event?

In my recent chat with a representative of the marshal club at the Red Bull Ring in Austria I discovered a few things… 1) there’s no camping at the track and hotel rooms nearby are really hard to come by during the F1 weekend so the club relies mainly on marshals that live nearby (i.e. visiting marshals would have a harder time finding accommodation during F1 than say DTM weekend) and 2) the circuit provides those fancy looking Red Bull logo blue and white overalls to the marshals that participate in their events. That’s really cool!

Why is it cool?

Well, as a visiting marshal you could travel to an event lighter, and travelling lighter makes your travels easier and more convenient (less bags to check when flying, less crap to pull around when you navigate a public transport system in another country, less luggage to worry about when storing stuff during an event, etc.) So in this post I would like to run down through a list of places you could volunteer where the uniform will be provided, and more importantly which places offer the best uniforms out there. Obviously this post is very subjective.

One of the most recognizable uniforms a marshal could wear anywhere is the 24h of Le Mans overalls that are provided by the ACO and are yours to keep after volunteering the event.

le mans 3

Fantastic deal right? Yes, certainly. Although slightly problematic for those of us that are overweight or that are fat like me. You see the ACO issued overalls look beautiful, and for a fashion forward country like France it is very fitting. But I have a hard time fitting into mine. Primarily because the crotch area is a bit painful with the seam riding way up into my scrotum. I don’t know if that’s by design or not, but it’s less than comfortable. Similarly I can’t raise my arms wearing these in either of the pairs I got. Design flaw or I’m not proportioned correctly for them, I don’t know. But damn do they look good! And more importantly we are FREE to keep them after the event, which has been fantastic wearing them in Germany for the Nurburgring 24h and in Portugal for the Maxi Endurance 32h… painful but beautiful 🙂

Closer to home, Circuit of the Americas has one of the better looking designs out there made by the same company that provides racing suits to the drivers: OMP Sport. And even though the overalls aren’t without their critics (there was one incident last year where someone complained so much about using the blue suits for WEC race that COTA caved in and required people to bring their own white uniforms for the event, which sucked!) I love those smurf suits! What’s not to love? The overalls are properly proportioned and run slightly on the larger size giving you good freedom of movement. The sleeves and pant legs have an elastic band that keeps the uniform in place without being too loose. There are plenty of pockets and the zipper works perfectly.

us gp 8

The “Speedway” brand blue overalls issued by USAC at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have many of the same properties of the pricier OMP suits from COTA but they work similarly well. Even when “some” critics don’t like them, I like them a lot.

grand am indy 1

YAS Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi issues a similar style (possibly same material weight) overall for their events. The famously grey colored suits with the embroidered logo on the back, sleeves and front pocket are quite useful and yet they have their critics too for being too warm in the heat of the desert. But when I volunteered for the Gulf 12 hour in December a few years ago, they were absolutely perfect!

yas

What I liked most about them was the freedom of movement. There was plenty of extra space so the pant part didn’t ride up my crotch, I could raise my hands above my head without pulling the pants into my crotch, pockets were great, etc.

In New Zealand, the Chicane brand uniform is of a very similar design and works absolutely perfectly for the marshals wearing them. Notice the giant pocket for the radio on one side of the chest.

new zealand hampton downs 1

Although it’s important to note that not all visiting marshals get the fancy Chicane uniforms from The Motorsport Club. I was really lucky to try on a few different sets, both for my recovery work the one weekend I rode around in an FIV car, and another time I snuck away from my grid marshal duties to get a ride along in the Chase vehicle with the rest of the fire marshals working that role:

new zealand hamilton v8s

The most generous allocation of overalls you get is in Singapore for the GP. You are provided with 3 sets for the 4 day weekend, where the first day is really just a systems test or a full dressed rehearsal. The Singapore overalls are your standard orange worker overalls you can buy for $30 bux on ebay with loose fitting wrist and pant openings. Each overalls is collected by the post chief at the end of the work day. Sadly you don’t get to keep them.

johor circuit sgp

The SGP issued overalls are loose fitting, light (I believe either 100% cotton or mostly cotton blend) and have great pockets, especially on the side of the legs. They also feature a reflective band around the elbows and below the knees. Similar style overalls are issued in Malaysia for events at the Sepang Circuit, though they don’t have the reflective stripe. A separate “Marshal” reflective vest is issued for night events there:

sepang circuit reflective boards

Interestingly enough for night events Sepang Circuit uses reflective boards instead of flashing lights (F1 style) though a yellow flashing lights at strategic locations around the track are obviously common. The blue reflective board is very effective at night, so long as the station is in direct headlight angle to the cars on the track.

South Korea, Australia, and Bahrain also issue standard orange work overalls to both their own and visiting marshals for a particular event.

korean gp 5

In Korea, like Singapore marshal roles are color coded, where Orange is the standard color for flag & track marshals, Red is for fire crews and Green is for Medics. However unlike Singapore, in Korea, Bahrain, Australia and Malaysia you only receive one set of overalls for the entire weekend, no matter how hot and how likely to sweat you are in the sweltering heat of that country.

So which uniforms were best, and where?

It’s not easy to say or pick one over another. Certainly most uniforms I have been issued with made perfect sense for the country where they were issued. The light uniforms of Singapore, Malaysia and Australia made sense there. The heavier material uniforms in the US also made sense here though like I mentioned people criticized such choices on a hot summer’s day in Texas when some events are ultimately run. Many Americans and Brits would be vocal proponents of bringing your own uniform to events where you volunteer. But personally I love the diversity of wearing the “track’s” uniform for a particular event, especially when travelling.

For more information on what circuits provide uniforms to their marshals do check out my Marshal Spotter Guide page: Motorsport Marshal Spotter Guide and blog entry.

I would love to hear about what other tracks are doing around the world for their marshals, so please share your experiences below. Keep in mind the information I shared above was only current at the time when I volunteered at a specific track, that information may change with time.

marshal-cam-spotter-guide

Top 10 Foodie Experiences while Marshaling (International)

Three important components make up this wonderful hobby that I blog about while volunteering in Motorsport: 1). Racing, 2). Travel to get to the Races and 3). the Foodie experiences along the way.

Here are my Top 10 Foodie experiences (cheap, greasy, delicious!) while marshaling, that I would absolutely go back for just to sample the awesome food again. This post will be divided into three sections, because I could and totally will give my Top 10 Foodie experiences while marshaling just in the USA alone. This part is the  International foodie experiences at each venue. And then the places you may transit through just to get to the event (both domestically and internationally).

#10 Canada: Poutine

canada poutine

When marshaling in Canada, you should try Poutine –  french fries, covered in cheese curds and smothered in gravy.

Although a Quebeci cuisine I haven’t really been all that crazy about it while marshaling the Canadian GP in Montreal. Instead it was the food of choice for me in Ontario during the ALMS races at Mosport. I tried to stick to a strictly “poutine” diet which meant trying quite a few different poutine trucks every day, and my favorite by far was one located at a little gas station just north of the Candian Tire Motorsports Park.

The best experience so far was sharing a few big portions with friends right at the track, which we all immediately regretted feeling bloated and full, so we decided to walk the entire length of the circuit to “walk it off” and that I will always remember! You have to try it for yourself.

alms mosport 6

#9 Australia: Fish & Chips

foodie australia fish and chips

When marshaling in Australia (or New Zealand for that matter) do try their Fish & Chips.

While traditionally a British thing, I think it would be foolish not to call Aussie style Fish & Chips an Aussie thing especially when you do have an opportunity to visit a proper fish and chips place along the Indian Ocean like say driving the Great Ocean Road, or on your way to Phillip Island because there’s a beautiful assortment of excellent and very outstanding fish and chips places that serve ridiculously fresh fish. Typically served with malt vinegar or tartar sauce which is my favorite.

The fries are really good, but the fish will be the highlight of that quick and tasty meal. Legend has it they deep fry flake which apparently is shark (gummy shark). And I don’t know about you but tasting shark is exotic and generally awesome.

#8 Germany: Veal Schnitzel with Gravy

foodie germany schnitzel

When marshaling in Germany you must have the Schnitzel!

Whether you go for chicken, beef or veal you won’t go wrong because they’re all equally tasty. I’ve sampled a lot of delicious food in Germany from their wonderful sausages to the delicious sandwiches (pretzel bread = yumm!) But a nice warm veal schnitzel served with fries and smothered in mushroom gravy is finger licking good. Especially when you are walking distance from your post at the Nordschleife on a cool summer’s day.

So when going to work at the “Green Hell” that is Nurburgring add a schnitzel to your list. My favorite joint is Giulia’s in Adenau which is a stone’s throw away from Post 120. And no meal would be complete without a stein of WARSTEINER beer. Seeing it served instantly brought memories of classic cars I saw on TV and later in person at various historic races around the world sporting the WARSTEINER sponsored logo including those beautiful E30 BMW M3’s, the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR of the mid 2000’s and of course the Porsche prototypes of the much older vintage era.

foodie germany beer nordscheleife

#7 Bahrain: Shawarma Malgoum

foodie bahrain shawarma malgoum

When marshaling in Bahrain you must try a Shawarma Malgoum!

So the french fry theme continues except this time it is engineered in to a delicious shawarma served on a busy street corner in a little village outside of the capital of the tiny island of Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf. I got really lucky to have an opportunity to marshal WEC in Bahrain and one of the marshals that drives a course car offered to show me around and give me a little sample of what the local food scene is like. It’s tough otherwise to find proper Bahraini food in Bahrain because of the dominance of all the western food chains and typical Indian joints that are readily available in the Middle East. But a cheap and compact shawarma really gave me a culinary peak at something truly local. You must experience it for yourself.

I did get a chance to go out for some lamb chops and other well made meats served with humus and pita bread, but I don’t think anything hit the spot like the Malgoum. Why do they call it that? and why is it a very Bahraini thing? Well because it’s an “everything” shawarma stuffed with all sorts of goodness from diced tomatos to generous portions of beef (chicken or lamb, whatever you prefer) some salad, and chili sauce.

Quickly made. Cheap and best enjoyed with friends late night. Typically followed by smoking some hookah at a juice bar. An experience I can’t wait to repeat in the future.

foodie bahrain hooka

#6 Singapore: Chicken Rice

foodie singapore chicken rice

When marshaling in Singapore you must have Chicken Rice!

It’s impossible to come to Singapore and not be overwhelmed by all the amazing culinary variety. You’ve got your traditional Chinese food, Malay food, Indian food, Thai food, Indonesian food, and plenty of Western food options too. But what MUST you try on your visit? Chicken rice, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it! Why? Because it is the simplest and the most readily available foods found on the island. It is also one of the cheapest. And most importantly it’s one of the best things they have to offer both locals and visitors alike.

Chicken rice or more properly Hainanese chicken rice is exactly what the name suggests, a simple cup of white rice served with poached and steamed chicken with some sweet chili, ginger and molasses like black substance that adds a very unique flavor to the dish. Often accompanied by a little bowl of the broth that the chicken is cooked in to sprinkle on your rice while you eat it with a fork and a spoon (using the fork to pile spoon-full’s of chicken and rice mix for each bite). I would highly recommend chicken rice for anyone as basic as it sounds it’s the one thing I really crave the most after living in Singapore for a while.

Don’t forget to get some freshly cut fruit for desert after your meal. Readily available at just about every Kopitiam on the island, the fruit is as important as the dish itself, to me at least. Especially with the exotic options like dragon fruit, starfruit, mango, papaya, pineapple, green/red apple, banana, strawberry and kiwi’s. Try it! Love it!

foodie singapore fresh fruit

#5 Malaysia: Nasi Lemak

foodie malaysia nasi lemak banana leaf

When marshaling in Malaysia you must have Nasi Lemak!

Nasi Lemak to me is the most Malay of the Malaysian dishes I’ve sampled, and I’ve been fortunate enough to try a few. It is coconut rice cooked with your choice of chicken, beef, cockles or even livers covered in spicy fish paste and topped with an egg all wrapped around in a banana leaf.

Traditionally eaten for breakfast, I’ve learned to love this dish at Sepang when one of my fellow marshals would make a morning run to pick up enough for our entire team. It’s true that coconut rice has a tendency to drive your stomach crazy afterwards, but the food is so delicious it is well worth all the funny business that may happen after you’ve digested it. It is phenomenal. You must try! And whenever possible have some Ipoh white coffee to wash it down. Ipoh coffee is served with a hefty serving of condensed milk which makes it white’ish in color and is absolutely amazing with a perfect amount of sweetness that I really love.

foodie malaysia nasi lemak

#4 South Korea: Anything with Kimchi

foodie korean bbq kimchi

When marshaling in South Korea try anything and everything that comes served with Kimchi!

I’m sure you all know what kimchi is so there’s no point explaining why this fermented spicy cabbage goodness is amazing. But when volunteering in Korea, like the Korean Grand Prix of the past or any of the current events held in the country. Whatever you eat that’s served with kimchi will leave you with an excellent memory to take back from Korea home, wherever you may live.

On my last visit I was lucky enough to experience kimchi with a several “guides” that showed me around. I first used CouchSurfing and people were kind enough to show me around the Seoul market, trying food all along the way, from Korean Sushi to Korean BBQ.

Then when we made our way to Mokpo with a fellow marshal he spoiled me for choice with the food options on the way and at the Marshal hostel that served us food for breakfast and dinner. Whatever the food: from delicious meat to fish, kimchi highlighted the dish and made me crave it more and more. I can’t wait to have it again on my next trip to this beautiful country. You should try it too!

foodie south korea kimchi

#3 Malaysia: Fish

foodie malaysia fish rice

When marshaling in Malaysia and if you’re lucky enough to have someone knowledgeable show you around… try the Fried Fish!

There’s a little village not far from the Sepang Circuit that I’ve had the pleasure to frequent after long days of working at the track. The whole rescue team that I camped together with at the track would go out every night for a relaxing evening to socialize with fellow marshals and share a delicious meal. Needless to say I was the only foreigner there, but I felt extremely welcome and more importantly I was absolutely in love with the fish they served at this little Muslim Thai restaurant that basically specializes in a very unique dish I haven’t tried anywhere else in Malaysia or Thailand on my travels, and I always make it a point to sample as much food as possible whenever I am in Southeast Asia.

What is the fish called? I have no idea. It is grilled to make the skin crispy and then smothered in the most delicious sweet chili sauce, served with rice. I always get a cup of Ipoh coffee or two to go with it, which is white coffee I described with my Nasi Lemak dish above, or coffee served with condensed milk. My favorite!

PS. the name of the fish dish is: “ikan kembung masak pedas

#2 New Zealand: Meat Pies

foodie new zealand meat pie

When marshaling in New Zealand (and Australia) you must try the Meat Pies!

Much like fish and chips, which I also really really like, Meat Pies are a British import to the Pacific but one that has gotten a flavor of it’s own and I much prefer the Kiwi meat pies to anything I tried in the UK. The meat pies are typically stuffed with chicken, beef, pork, livers, veggies, and a variety of other combinations like black pepper steak or curry chicken. And I love them all. I really do!

The best part about meat pies you get them served at the track while marshaling so you don’t really have to go looking for them at a specific restaurant or bakery. Although while driving on the way to Hampton Downs or Pukekohe on the North Island I’ve always made it a point to stop at Pokeno to stock up on their delicious goodness.

The pies were also readily available to buy frozen and heat up at home by brands like Big Ben who also sponsored local racing. But nothing compares to freshly made kidney liver pies or chicken curry pies I’d get on the way to the track. I loved it, you’d love it too!

foodie new zealand kiwi meat pie big ben

#1 Singapore: Durian

foodie singapore durian

When marshaling in Singapore the #1 meal you should try is Durian!

The highlight of my life in Singapore and pretty much every subsequent visit since has been to sample some fresh Durian. I don’t know if people would ever understand the craving I have for such an infamous fruit. But I definitely crave it! And you can’t just have any durian you stumble upon the street. Hell they sell them in Chinatown in Manhattan or San Francisco. But apparently there’s nothing worse than bad durian. You have to have it in season. You have to ask for the Malaysian durian which is smaller than the big Thai durian and therefore more potent, tastier.

Other products with durian are a hit or miss. I’ve tried durian ice cream and absolutely hated it, but also tried durian moon cakes during Chinese New Year celebration and absolutely loved them. But there really isn’t a substitute for the real thing. And if you do end up going to the Singapore GP I would highly recommend spending one evening exploring Geylang with a local marshal who would surely be able to point you in the right direction to try the “King of Fruit!”

Of course your experience may be way different from mine. I’m happy to share my favorite American Top 10 Foodie Experiences… and I think the Malaysian and Singapore Top 10 Foodie Experiences will follow, so stay tuned!