History-making Ma Qinghua will get a big fan following every time he takes to the Ningbo International Speedpark during WTCR Race of China next month. Here the Alfa Romeo-powered Team Mulsanne driver reveals his dream podium, explains why he chose number 55 for this season’s WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO and the role he hopes to play in the future of motorsport in his homeland.
If you could choose any two drivers to join you on a fantasy podium, from any category, any era, who would they be?“I would choose Lewis Hamilton and Marc Marquez. I am a big fan of bike racing, it’s amazing and similar to WTCR because every racer is quite close and very competitive and side by side all the time. The rider who can win those races is really amazing.”
Pre-race, what do you do before climbing aboard your Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris?“When I raced with Citroën in the WTCC I had a case of Chinese tea with me and I used to drink this before I got in the car. Now I’m with an Italian team I change tea to coffee, espresso of course, and I listen to music. But the music is quiet and peaceful, not to make me too excited because I try to balance the emotion.”
Ningbo is one of 10 tracks on the WTCR / OSCARO calendar. If you could add another for 2020 what would it be?“Laguna Seca! Personally, I would love to have one race in the States and if you want me to choose one circuit then Laguna Seca represents that special point.”
All WTCR / OSCARO drivers get to choose their race numbers. What made you go for number 55?“I use number 55 because when I start to race in Formula 3 in Europe in 2008, I was number 55. In that year I got onto the podium three times, it was a very good year for me and very important in my career towards Formula One. I would like to repeat the success from before and the number ‘5’ is very lucky in Chinese culture so I choose 55.”
When you eventually stop racing, how will you keep busy?“First of all, I don’t know when I’m going to stop! I think I have quite a long time to go, I love being in this sport for the passion and I will try to continue my career for as long as possible. I would also like to do something in this industry in China for sure, to help the whole motorsport industry in China. I would like to help more drivers or even those kids who never drove before to start, to give them some instruction and good suggestions how to make a career.”