Sara Choi, a South Korean drift racer, is one of the rare female drift racers who compete on an equal or even higher level with men in the automotive industry.
“Men have egos. Men have pride,” says Choi upon knowing that some guys dislike her.
The 29-year-old was taken care of by a gang of automobile kids after leaving her Hawaii home at 15 and this is when she first acquired her curiosity and passion in cars.
Cool as she is, Choi drives a car at 70 mph while it “drifts” due to oversteering and also has to deal with microaggressions and crude remarks about her body as a drift racer.
Being one of the few women of color who is so skilled at it, vehicles are more than simply a hobby, a source of celebrity, or a source of income to her. Not only did she find a great deal of thrill when she drives sideways at high speed, but a new family as well.
“In Hawaii, we only have three freeways. Every Wednesday and every weekend, they would host a “car cruise meet” at the military base, which was everyone—sometimes up to 200 or 300 cars—going on the freeway and just racing. I would always go with my friends to that,” Choi said in Cosmopolitan.
When Choi got her first full-time work at a tuning shop, she got a 1999 Civic through her boss, which she paid for with every paycheck. This marked the beginning of her passion for cars.
After being introduced to drifting, she traveled to Japan, the country where the practice first emerged, years later. After completely experiencing the pleasure of drifting there, she grew passionate about it to the point that it became not only a hobby but a career.
Choi revealed that she is still debating whether or not to compete because it is a male-dominated field and that she is experiencing psychological difficulties.
She is currently concentrating on running racing events to keep the fire going.
One big achievement she had in the arena was when she created the Acura mod, a vehicle she worked on for three months for the SEMA exhibition in Las Vegas.
Additionally, Choi encouraged other women who want to pursue drift racing to “Just do it,” adding that they should put themselves out there to connect with individuals in the field.