Last year’s China Touring Car Championship (CTCC) winner, literary pin-up and blogging sensation Han Han gets back behind the wheel of his Volkswagen GT #6 in today’s up-close-and-personal series. Photographer John Minh Nguyen stole a private moment with the polymath during the 10th anniversary CTCC qualifiers at the International Circuit in his native Shanghai. Having entered the world of professional racing in 2003, the high-speed junkie, who holds Sébastien Loeb and Valentino Rossi as his car-racing heroes, has taken the sport by storm. Fresh from dropping out of school at 16, Han penned a widely acclaimed novel Triple Door—which sold over two million copies nationwide—and has just seen his recent tome, This Generation: Dispatches from China’s Most Popular Literary Star, translated into English. Han’s much-loved, often provocative blog and online diary have earned him nearly 17 million Sina Weibo followers, making him one of the voices of his generation. Most discerning, however, are Han’s uncensored political views, which saw him named one of the most influential figures of 2010 by Time magazine; he has since been profiled by The New Yorker, CNN, and New Statesman. The day before he takes part in the high-octane third round at Shanghai’s Tianma Circuit, Han Han opens up.
Tell us about your most memorable race.
Han Han: It was the race that took place at Tian Ma Shan competition terrain, which I won. My daughter and her friends were all there. I don’t really care about winning in front of the others, but I need to try my best for my daughter.
What’s the biggest challenge?
HH: Halfway through the race when I realize there are lots emails that I haven’t replied to.
What type of music do you listen to when behind the wheel?
HH: Slow songs. Somehow, when I listen songs with fast beats I feel sleepy.
If you could choose somebody to race with, who would it be?
HH: Moto race with Loeb, track race with Rossi, rally race with Schumacher.
Are there any international races you’d like to participate in?
HH: The World Rally Championship.
If one day your daughter came to you to tell you she wants to race too, how would you react?
HH: No way!