Host of Celebrity Car Wars shares new-found respect for racers

Bobby Tonelli speaks to Imagine TV Network about his time as the host of brand-new reality series Celebrity Car Wars and reveals the hard work that goes on behind-the-scene.

Imagine TV Network

Getting the news that he would host the new reality series Celebrity Car Wars was an emotional moment for him, Bobby Tonelli recalls. The Italian-American host, actor and model was previously a Mediacorp radio deejay in Singapore and appeared in both local dramas and Hollywood films.

He shared that he been been wanting to host similar shows but had been told that such shows were looking for Asian or Pan-Asian hosts. "I've always been told 'no, no, no' and then finally someone says 'yes' and it's a big show like this," he says.

Image credit: HISTORY

However, the fact that the show is a big production did not sink in until he flew to Manila because he had been used to the scale of local productions. One memorable moment that stuck with him was filming the opening shot for the television program on the first day. "I was really, really nervous," he remarks.

He described the scene, which was filmed as night, as "crazy" because he had celebrities standing behind him, multiple drones flying around him and an array of cars being driven down the path for the shot. The pressure was multiplied because the opening scene was going to set the tone of the series but he laughs with relief when he was reminded that he filmed the shot in one take.

The eight-parter reality series sees six celebrities from Asia undertaking challenges such as braking, drag racing, parking and driving off-road, all with an unexpected twist. Trained by car racing experts Michele Bumgarner and Gaby Dela Merced, along with guest expert Alex Yoong, the celebrities compete against each other and vye for entry into the Celebrity Car Wars Hall of Fame.

Image credit: HISTORY

Being around race car professionals on the show and shadowing the training the celebrities had to undergo also gave him a new-found respect for professional racers. "When we watch racing on TV or let's say watch F1 at the track, you don't see the hard work that goes on behind being a race car driver... The amount of G-force you have to fight, speed alertness, all these things... It's [hard work] I don't think people realise."

One of the challenges the celebrities had to had to take on is go-kart racing and while it appears irrelevant to car racing, there is actually a rationale behind that because the skills are transferable. "A lot of the best racers in the world started out with go-karting," he quips. A young surprise guest, who is the go-kart champion in Southeast Asia, is also invited to show off his go-karting skills during that episode.

Once someone learns how to push the car to its limits, it is easy to get overconfident from gaining these new knowledge but he leaves a word of advice: "Never get overconfident with the car, always respect the car and that will keep you in line."

Celebrity Car Wars broadcasts on Mondays at 10pm on HISTORY Asia (StarHub Cable TV Channel 401).



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