Host of motoring show Top Gear Korea knows cars better than women

Hosts of Top Gear Korea 6 (from left) Danny Ahn of K-pop band G.O.D., rapper-turned-TV host Kim Jin Pyo and professional car racer Ryu Kyung Wook. -- PHOTO: KIX AND KIX HD
Hosts of Top Gear Korea 6 (from left) Danny Ahn of K-pop band G.O.D., rapper-turned-TV host Kim Jin Pyo and professional car racer Ryu Kyung Wook. -- PHOTO: KIX AND KIX HD

Ryu Kyung Wook, host of Top Gear Korea, has flubbed lines during filming

Host of motoring show Top Gear Korea Ryu Kyung Wook prefers cars to women. Having been a car mechanic and later a professional racer for the past 16 years, the 34-year-old South Korean has an extensive knowledge of cars.

So it is perhaps no surprise that he says he understands automobiles better than the fairer sex.

Still, Ryu is more than happy to meet female celebrity guests on Top Gear Korea such as sexy singer Son Dam Bi.

"I was star-struck in their presence. I was enchanted just by being by their side. I was enjoying the moment," says Ryu animatedly in Korean over the phone from Seoul via a translator.

Singing praises of Son's driving skills displayed on the show, he says: "She was energetic and motivated. She was calm. She did not try anything risky. It was very safe driving."

Ryu adds: "It occurred to me, if I had the chance, she would make a good student."

He also named K-pop girl groups Girls' Generation and A Pink among his favourite guests.

While driving is second nature to the seasoned racer, he admits that he is a bag of nerves in front of the camera and has flubbed his lines during filming.

"I was really nervous. Even though I rehearsed the pronunciation of the luxury car brand Lamborghini. I kept pronouncing it in a funny way. I was so embarrassed," he says with a laugh.

In 2013, he made the switch to TV when the production team scouted him to host another Korean automobile show, The Bunker.

Now Ryu is hosting Top Gear Korea alongside rapper-turned-TV host Kim Jin Pyo and Danny Ahn of K-pop band G.O.D.

His passion still lies in car racing, though. "I am still racing while I am hosting TV shows. I will race till the day I cannot move," he says.

Besides, car racing introduced Ryu to the other love in his life - his wife.

"I hurt my wrist once when I was racing and had to go to the hospital to get it treated. My wife was the nurse who attended to me. That's how I fell in love with her," says Ryu fondly of his 31-year-old spouse, who is now a housewife.

His career choice had made his wife so nervous that she used to not be able to eat properly whenever he had an upcoming race.

His worst accident happened in Macau last year when his car collided into a wall because the brakes did not work properly on the slippery circuit. He was briefly unconscious, but did not suffer any injuries.

Now his wife has come to realise that proper safety measures are taken during racing and she is supportive of his passion.

Their children - a four-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter - could be following in their father's footsteps.

He says with pride: "Both of them are very fascinated with cars. Almost every toy at home is a car. They also drive the junior cart for children.

"If they ever want to become racers, I will give them my blessing and full support."

nggwen@sph.com.sg

Top Gear Korea 6 airs on KIX (StarHub Cable TV Channel 518 and Singtel TV Channel 309) on Tuesdays at 9pm.