Passion for speed : Sports-car lover and businessman is a fan of the Kingdom’s auto-racing prince

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For many men, stylish and powerful automobiles are part of their lives because they find it hard to leave the fast lane when they step out of the office to spend some leisure time.

Businessman Xavier Pierre Olaf Roger is a case in point. In Thailand, where he lives, he is involved in property development. He operates www.bkkrealestate.com and runs serviced apartments.

In Barcelona, Spain, he owns an information-technology business. His business life is time-crunched, fast-paced, up-to-the-minute, and it whets his appetite for fast cars.

“All of my businesses need fast information because the world is changing rapidly and, of course, the businesses are affected by where I live. I’ve been in Thailand for more than seven years and I like it very much because of the hospitality. I have more Thais than foreigners as good friends,” he says.

Like many men, he has a special regard for sports cars. He currently owns a 2006 Lotus Exige and serves as chairman of the Lotus Club of Thailand, which has only 45 members.

The Lotus Exige is a sports car with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine that delivers 190 horsepower at 7,800rpm. It also uses twin oil coolers. With this machine, Roger has joined in car-racing events in Thailand over the past two years.

“Taking part in motor racing overseas is much more expensive than it is in Thailand and becoming a racer serves my need for speed,” he says. “However, I drive slowly on roads in Bangkok because it would be dangerous to do anything else.”

He says that for daily driving, he often uses a vintage Mercedes-Benz W107 rather than the Lotus.

“I have two types of cars. One is for driving and the other is for racing. I modified the engine of the latter and it now pumps out 240hp,” he says.

“I’m very happy, because I can follow my passion. Becoming a car racer has made me want to study and accumulate biographical stories about HH Prince Birabongse Bhanubandh, who was a well-known Thai racer in Europe. I collect all I can find about the prince. I have old pictures from when he was racing in 1937. All the information about him helps me to learn history and I consider that it is valuable.”

Roger says he has lately found more time to practice and learn about racing. Drift driving has become his big interest.

“Learning different racing styles helps to improve my driving skills and opens up opportunities for me to meet new friends. Sometimes, businessmen play golf for business purposes. I join in car racing to meet friends. That’s why I have more Thai friends than foreigners,” he says.

Thanadol Rila

The Nation

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