Marlon Stockinger: Fast track
THE DIALOGUE - Raymond Gutierrez () - June 17, 2011 - 12:00am

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Marlon Stockinger isn’t keen on singing for Sunday variety shows, or being part of a love team to gather media mileage. He may have movie star looks with plenty of offers to jump on the showbiz bandwagon, but the 20-year-old Filipino-Swiss is fully concentrated on one thing — racing. Being the only Filipino to win a Formula race in Europe, he’s at a make-or-break point and has dedicated 100 percent of his time to reach his ultimate dream of racing in Formula One, the most prestigious and highest class single-seater race in the world. Currently based in Zurich, he was in the country for a few days to shoot a television ad for Globe Tattoo, helping his other goal of creating awareness for the sport in the country. We sat down with him before he flew for a whirlwind trip to Zurich, Brussels, Valencia, Ibiza, and London all for the love of racing.

YOUNG STAR: Hearing your itinerary, I think it’s safe to say that you live on a plane.

MARLON:I have like 120,000 air miles this year. I’m in a plane almost every two weeks.

So you’re a travel expert, I’m assuming?

Yeah, pretty much. I know how to get around by myself in airports and cities. Even airport employees and cab drivers from abroad recognize me already ‘cuz I travel frequently to their country.

What’s your travel must-have?

My iPod with songs that can make me feel relaxed and at home.

I’m guessing there are only a few Asians in the international racing community?

First of all, they’re not familiar with the Philippines. In a way, they’re shocked but I think I recently proved to them that a Filipino could win a race in Europe. I’m just thankful that I get to represent the country in an international platform.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?

When I won my first race in the UK. There were 22 racers. You really never know what’s gonna happen, and that one day it just did. It was a good experience because I was competing with the best of the best racers. Three or four of them will definitely end up in Formula One. It was also proof to me and to everyone else that I’m not just doing this for fun and that I can actually race in the Formula One someday.

So the ultimate dream is to be part of F1. How long do think it will take until you can race in that league?

Anywhere from two to four years.

Who’s your personal hero?

Ayrton Senna. He was a Formula One driver back in the ‘90s. He was from Brazil and he was a two-time world champion. He died in 1994 in a racing accident. I admire him because you can see his passion when he races.

Speaking of accidents, what’s the worst accident you’re ever had racing?

The biggest accident I’ve ever been in was actually a couple of weeks ago. It’s definitely something to keep in consideration but I actually don’t think about getting into one when I’m racing. It’s a motor sport and it’s definitely part of the sport itself. I pretty much believe that it has progressed, safety wise, as compared to a decade ago.

With the whole safety concern, and you dedicating all your time to racing, how does your family support you in all this?

My family has supported me from the very beginning and it feels good actually.

Your mom is Filipino and your dad is Swiss. How did they meet?

They met back around 1989. My dad was basically a banker at a Swiss Bank. He decided to come here to Manila to see Asia. Then they met somewhere along the way. It’s funny because now that they’re older, they’re still workaholics. My dad and mom are still running the business. Especially my mom who is very hands-on with the business. She’s not the typical mom who is just at home. I’m proud of her.

What do you do in your downtime besides racing, given your tight schedule?

If I get a chance to have downtime, I usually spend it with my family at home. I’m basically always on the run, and I just want to make the most out of the free time to spend time with them. If time permits, I go out with my friends to have a good time. But I always keep in mind that there should always be a balance in everything I do.

Are you in a relationship?

No, I’m single.

What do you look for in a girl?

The standout quality for me would be someone who has a good sense of humor. If she’s pretty and funny, that’s my girl.

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

I think one of my goals is to raise awareness of motor sports here in the Philippines. Just to spread the news about it, create a stronger belief, and also give back to my community. Hopefully one day, I get to do this.

Do you have a lot of fans now? Do people tweet you?

Yeah, it’s funny. I have like 31,000 fans on my fan page on Facebook. I actually started the fan page back in England when I ran out of things to do. I got around 300 fans and I was happy about it. And now, it’s way more than that. It’s crazy!

So really, no showbiz for now?

I’m flattered by the offers but in a way I’m already in show business, just a different format.

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