Race car driver, small business owner, and mama of two Claire Jedrek spills the beans on her go-to carpool karaoke song, her daily routine, and her parenting style…with an assist from SKODA KODIAQ
British-born and Singapore-raised since 1994, Claire Jedrek is Singapore’s only female race car driver, and a total badass who also happens to be a mother of two (son Oli is 20 months old – check out the gorgeous maternity shoot she did with us before he was born! – and her daughter Charly joined the party in mid-2019). In addition to her racing career, Claire owns and runs The Karting Arena with her husband, fellow race car driver Yuey Tan, and is also a fitness spokesperson with a massive Instagram following. So she totally gets the busy mama work-life juggle!
Did you ever wonder what car race car drivers choose to drive in their spare time? (Yes, even race car drivers do school drop-offs and have to pick up groceries!) We caught up with Claire to find out which family car she and Yuey picked – and why they’re loving their choice!
How old were you when you learned to drive?
I only got my driving licence in 2010 for road cars, and I received my racing licence in 2013. Racing cars is quite different from driving a road car. What people don’t know is, having a road license isn’t actually necessary for getting a racing licence. So the number of years you’ve been driving a road car doesn’t really impact whether you have enough experience to drive a race car — in fact it can help because it means you haven’t built up bad habits!
You’ve driven cars all over the world, what’s unique about driving in Singapore?
I tend to notice that commuters, as well as pedestrians, are always on their mobiles, meaning they are less aware of their surroundings. Having a SMART car certainly helps with being able to be more vigilant about what is around the car. People in other cars are also always in a rush, and people don’t check their mirrors when changing lanes.
Having a car with multiple cameras and sensors has been a blessing, as I’ve been able to avoid situations when those around me could be potentially hurt from their lack of awareness.
What do you and your husband look for in a family car?
- Safety & Reliability is the number one thing always, especially with children. The car has to be able to absorb impact well from another car, and it has to be able to safely house baby seats. The car has to have good track record for not falling apart!
- Convenience of the vehicle, covering aspects like getting in and out, storage and people space, size of the vehicle, interface and technology for syncing our mobiles to it.
- Handling is important. We need a car that can carry some weight, take a corner, and has enough pickup to be able to overtake when driving outside Singapore.
- Cost is important as it needs to be low maintenance with long lasting parts, that can be ordered off the get go. Fuel economy helps heaps!
What was it like bringing your newborn babies home from the hospital? Were they the most terrifying drives of your life?
It’s always a memorable occasion, as there are so many firsts at that stage. This second time around, what I thought about the most was how convenient and comfortable it would be for my little girl.
I wanted to make sure it was as seamless as possible, so she wouldn’t be uncomfortable and we could transition from hospital to home with the least amount of stress for her and for us. It’s a happy occasion and the last thing you want is to be stuck in a carpark , sweating , trying to get your baby into a car when she starts crying and then you get worked up and feel anxious.
When you bring your baby home from the hospital in the car, its almost like a big ceremony because it’s the first step of a new journey, a rite of passage.
As a busy mum of two, how much time do you spend driving? Can you take us through your daily routine?
I spend every day driving, multiple times a day. I wake up and the first drop-off is my son to school at 8:30 am, then to one or two meetings outside the house. I then either go home or pick up my son straight from school around12:30, drop him home or at a family member’s house. Either myself or Yuey will grab the car and head to the office at The Karting Arena, and then there will be one or two other meetings near home or out of office. In the evening, we are either picking Oli up or bringing him to the Botanic Gardens for a run around, and if we are without kids then we’re driving to dinner or an event. The car is an integral part of lives for the sake of convenience; if we can have more time with our kids by having a car, then it makes sense for us.
How have your family’s car needs changed now that you have a second child?
Space and convenience are right on top. We travel around so much so we needed a car that was able to hold people, babies, sports gear and other bulky items. It’s not easy finding the right care that’s big but not too big, where you can basically lug the house around with you. Since our first born is 20months old, the car gets strewn with bits of biscuits, drinks spilt, so everything needs to be easily cleanable. Having adjustable seats is so important, too, as the seats need to move back and forth and flip up and down.
When you were choosing a family car, what stood out to you about the ŠKODA KODIAQ?
They say its a family car, but I’d like to add it’s a Family Sports Car. Some people feel sad that they’d have to let go of their sports cars to buy a family mover, but the ŠKODA holds on to that enjoyment of driving with its incredible handling abilities. The Turbo gives it that extra torque off the green lights. We’ve driven it overseas and we loved it even more.
I’m always rushing to my next appointment; to be able to run in to the car park, open the car door without rummaging around for a key or manually unlocking, then press a start button and just start moving is a dream for any busy parent. It’s so ridiculously fuss-free.
As someone who’s driven A LOT of cars, what features of ŠKODA KODIAQ make it special?
Having the technology of an easy interface that isn’t complicated and is less of a distraction while driving is brilliant. We are all about safety so the fewer distractions, the better for the safety of our passengers and our children. The ŠKODA for us, as mentioned, is really actually a sports car built with the body of a family car. Don’t underestimate this car! For its price point, it’s worth everything and more.
How is your son Oli handling big brother life so far?
Oli is kind of like false advertising for new parents as he’s been a dream kid with his sister. I suspect because he has so much attention from us, all his grandparents and from his three minders and teachers at school. He’s a confident kid so the new kid on the block has yet to cramp his style.
Speaking of Oli, how does he like riding in the KODIAQ? Any go-to songs or activities you can share with other parents?
Lucky for me, when Oli is on one-kid party mode , I can easily wipe the seats down, especially when his Beats are pumping with biscuits in hand. Looking out the massive sunroof is probably his favourite pastime on his morning school runs, watching the morning mania around him. (My daughter loved the KODIAQ’s sunroof, too when we gave it a test drive: “I feel like we’re in a spaceship!” –Ed.)
Having Apple CarPlay means I can play Oli’s TOP 10 greatest hits from Spotify: “If you’re happy and you know it”, “5 little ducks”, “Elmo’s Song”… the rest is hip-hop he has to listen to for educational purposes.
What’s YOUR favourite carpool karaoke song?
It’s gotta be a toss-up between Oasis’s “Wonderwall” or TLC’s “Waterfalls”.
How would you describe your parenting style?
I’m pretty chilled, I just make sure I catch him if he’s climbing stuff, wipe his hands if he’s eaten off the floor again. As long as he says his pleases and thank yous, gives hugs, and tells me I’ll always be his number one, he can get away with murder.
Thanks, Claire! Want to find out more about the ŠKODA KODIAQ? Book a test drive or visit the ŠKODA showroom at 239 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159930 to see this awesome family sports car up close!