Meet the Co-Drivers: Tin Nguyen
The two-car Colorado MotorSport team will see a vehicle switch heading into this month’s Rally Colorado, as the duo of Zach Lumsden and Tin Nguyen will move into the team’s Mazda Speed 3 for the return of the event to Rangely on July 20-21. Yesterday, we heard from Lumsden; today, hear from Nguyen as he prepares for the team’s home event in three weeks’ time:
What made you want to start rallying?
I grew up always admiring sporty cars. Racecars were just ingrained within me from a young age—I even had a Ferrari F40 bed. During my teenage years I watched an anime called Initial D which featured a vehicle in the series the Subaru Impreza GC8. This car suddenly became my favorite (achievable) vehicle. I did a lot of research and found Colin McRae. He was doing amazing things in that car. I knew after watching the footage and seeing Colin blow through the stages that this was what I wanted to do.
When was your first event and how did you do?
My first event was more than two years ago coming onto three at this point; Prescott, Arizona with Zach Lumsden. I made some mistakes during transit and took a very long time doing time math as I had not built a system yet for juggling all the documentation. Prior I had experience with Rally.Build in Colorado working with Grant Hughes as his co-driver in sprint based races, but not quite the full rally experience since there was no transit, it was just stage notes.
When was your first really memorable result—win or podium—and how did you get there?
The most memorable moment is actually my first rally with Zach. It was at Prescott, Arizona. We were doing so well we were ahead of the pack and building our pace out. We flew over a cattle guard and had a failure occur with the hood pins causing the hood to launch up and smash our windshield then whip off to the side of the vehicle after some braking accelerating and cornering.
At this point Zach is pretty much trusting me and trying to move his head as close to my side which had less shatter lines. As we blasted our way through the dirt roads and saw the loyal spectators, they were waving and flailing their arms back and forth. In my head at that instance I felt like we are finishing this race in true rally spirit. The hood was scraping, flying up and down on the driver’s side door, as we went full throttle through the finish. At the end of the race we had one of the faster times overall.
Though we had a podium in our hands, we couldn’t source another windshield to be within rules to continue to race. Though this did not result in a win, it was definitely a win for our relationship and trust in each other for future events.
Do you prefer to work with a single driver or multiple drivers?
I honestly have no preference. I have worked mostly with Zach as his dedicated co-driver, but I am open to working with other drivers to help fill in when needed and if time allows. I also drive, so to me it’s good to get first person experience with many different driving styles and corner attack. It has helped me give Zach advice which has vastly improved his skill with a little input and his natural instinct to feel out the traction on the road.
What’s your favorite event on the Rally America schedule?
I have to say my favorite event was probably Rally in the 100 Acre Wood. Though we DNFed, the people were fantastic and the experience with the spectators gave us faith that we can "Make Rally Great Again.”
Do you have any pre-event routines?
We discuss travel plans routines and go over documentation that is emailed about the event. Because we are more of a grassroots team with not as many resources as others, we essentially just do most of our pre race prep at recce.
Which other co-drivers in the sport do you respect the most?
Craig Drew is quite an impressive co-driver. I have seen him all over the place and now he is with Subaru USA. Daniel Elena is also quite an impressive individual. He has taken many podium finishes with Sebastian Loeb.