"What’s up with all these wings plastered on all these cars? I dig it." That’s what I said when I first noticed the Indotech Motorsports (IMS) flashy wings over various cars and racers shirts. It almost reminded me of the days when the Obey graffiti was going up in LA and only the underground people knew what the Andre the Giant logo stood for. These flashy wings set me off on a yearlong journey in trying to understand where the following originated. Luckily for me, Alex Tan the founder/owner of IMS found me before I found him.
So what makes this 40-year-old man from Indonesia so different from the others? I would say it’s his charismatic personality and his proven ability to forge a team of drivers and enthusiasts to come together at the track. He’s the enthusiast’s man; he finds enthusiasts, discovers what their talents are and applies them to his team. He’s even established a barter system for team members so they receive automotive repair services in exchange for helping out with the team. It’s a win-win situation that you really don’t see much of in a field where everyone is competing against each other.
With the backing of his father at the young age of 14, Alex road motorcycles in the canyons of Indonesia. He eventually chose a safer route of four-wheeled vehicles and got involved with road racing where he was able to forge a team that would take first place. In the search for a better life, Alex and his wife moved to California back in 1999. While working on his mechanic certifications and in the real estate slump of 2006-2007, his wife Christin was able to influence Alex to follow his dreams and open up his own garage in Arcadia, CA.
As his business grew, Alex found the time to hit the track again, but finding the right community to get involved with wasn't so easy. That was until he met with Sean Lee and Will Wattanawongkiri of Purist Group back in 2012. This was the pivotal point where Alex was able to find that "group" and was also introduced to the fun of driving a Mazda Miata. From that point, he chose to acquire 9+ Miata's and specialize in them. What he decided to do next with his business and new found Miata love is what really brought the heart and soul to IMS.
Although he drove his own cars for fun, he wanted to share his passion; he wanted to build a team. His interest in Miata's led to involvement with the Roadster Cup group and Redline Time Attack racers. In 2014, Alex set off to collaborate with various individuals in the racing community and IMS has since taken multiple podiums in Redline Time Attack, Extreme Speed Roadster Cup and VTEC Club.
Luckily, Alex already knew Will Wattanawongkiri as a fast driver in the time attack scene and joined forces with him to start creating the team. On Will's debut as an IMS driver, he took the 2002 turbo Miata out on the infield course at Auto Club Speedway and earned IMS's first victories with a 1st overall in Roadster Cup Modified with a time of 1:13.694 and 2nd in Redline Time Attack Modified RWD with a time of 1:13.020.
Another key member that started the IMS team is, David Martinez. During the team's infancy, the former Marine Sergeant spent countless hours while off-duty getting the wiring on the 1991 S2K-powered all motor NB Miata working. Alex saw David's drive and chose to sponsor him and his '91 Miata. Makes me think about the Karate Kid sometimes, Alex was David's Mr. Miyagi and helped guide him into the successful racer he is today. At the time of this story, David went on to take 2nd place in 2015 Unlimited RWD in Redline Time Attack round 6.
The success of IMS has grown over the course of the past year, adding more members for Alex to sponsor and necessitating the need for assistance from Max Sterling to manage the logistics for seven drivers and cars. At the track, he continues to provide mechanical oversight while the drivers and two additional team members rotate pit crew duties between sessions. With the team growing and individuals honing their skills, Alex plans to take his team to compete in wheel-to-wheel competitions and Global Time Attack for the 2016 season.
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