By Seva May
What do you do when you’ve spent most of your life in a gymnastics program competing with a medal-winning team and suddenly it ends? Just like that, during your senior year of high school, you’re packing your bags for the state competition and a phone call brings the trip to a screeching halt. COVID-19 brought an end to so many hopes and dreams. But it didn’t stop Landan Matriano-Lim from pursuing another passion that had captured his imagination since he was 11—driving fast cars. Extremely fast cars.
It all began for Landon when his father, Allan Matriano-Lim bought a sports car. In his quest to find a place to drive it without getting a speeding fine, he discovered that a track in New Orleans was opened for such “hobbies.” Next to that track was a Kart track where Landon spent much of his time racing karts. Faster than your ordinary go-carts, Kart racing gave Landon a taste of what driving a real race car would be like, and he loved it. His competitive spirit would be satisfied, he could make money, and racing could take him all over the globe.
Landon’s first real race car was a yellow Lotus Elise which he would sometimes drive to his high school (Loyola College Prep) when he wasn’t in his Jeep. He took dual enrollment classes through LSUS while in high school which allowed him to finish college in three years with a double major in management and marketing. Because he was 21 when he began this journey, (apparently on the old side for a beginner) he was determined to catch up with the other, younger racers he was competing with.
Landon succeeded by turning some heads in club racing and making some good impressions at the racing camps. Formula Racing takes commitment, physical fitness, a sharp mind, and a strong foundation of driving skills. Drivers may take years of climbing the racing ladder to go from Formula 4 to Formula 1 with two levels in between. Landon had to first test with a racing team coached by former racing professionals. He was assessed on his driving technique, his speed, and his level of confidence. The coaches didn’t just rely on what they could see. The cars are equipped with data systems that measure the G-force, the turn speeds, and even how many times the brakes are used. Landon passed the tests and was signed by Jensen Global Advisors for the 2023 racing season competing in the Formula 4 United States Championship. JBA has a long history of developing young race car drivers. Team principal Eric Jensen said of Landan, “He immediately impressed setting competitive lap times on day one. Given his record of winning in the NASA prototype cars, we expect that Landan will immediately be able to challenge for points and top-five finishes.”
Officials won’t just let you go willy-nilly around the track. After all, this is a very dangerous sport. Drivers must qualify to go forward. A typical Formula 4 weekend involves test and qualifying sessions and three 30-minute races. With about four hours of track time at each event, Landan is working his way up that ladder. He’s finishing 15th through 19th in most of his races in a field of 30 racers.
Landan is working with a sport he absolutely loves. “My ultimate goal is to be a paid driver, to have a team behind me that works on the car and puts their trust in me as the driver to put the entire team on the podium.” Judging by his work ethic so far, and how great he looks in his driving gear, we believe Landan will make it to the finish line with no problem.