Eleven races in four distinctive race cars will determine this year’s winner of the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship which will see 20 of the best online racers gathered this weekend at the 1Utama Shopping Mall in Petaling Jaya for a total prize pool of RM70,000 and a ticket to represent Malaysia on the international arena.
Organized by UMW Toyota Motor, the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship – now into its 5th season – is the most lucrative local online racing series in the country offering cash prizes. It is also the first and only E-sports motor-racing event by a Malaysian car company.
First held in 2018, the number of participants in the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship has grown exponentially with the event drawing more than 1 million online spectators per season. “2022 marks the fifth season of not only the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship, but also the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Challenge race series. It used to be that virtual racing and real racing are two very different entities, but we are honored to have witnessed first-hand how both disciplines are contributing immensely towards producing Malaysia’s next generation of competitive racing drivers,” said UMW Toyota Motor President Ravindran K. adding that the company has successfully pioneered the transition of four young simulator drivers into saloon car racing over the last two years.
One of those drivers are Nabil Azlan who finished third in last year’s GR Velocity Esports Championship and is today not only competing in saloon car racing but is also one of the championship frontrunners in the Rookie Class of the Vios Challenge race series.
Fans are invited to catch the racing action live at the Centre Court of 1Utama Shopping Mall or they can tune in to the GR Velocity Esports Championship live on Astro’s eGG Channel, or on the Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia Facebook and YouTube pages.
After a grueling qualifying round which attracted more than 500 participants held from 9-17 July 2022, this weekend’s Grand Finale will see two rounds of semi-final races being held to decide the top 10 drivers for the final.
The semi-finals will see racers battling it out on two circuits: the 4.265km Brands Hatch and the 3.8km Goodwood Motor Circuit in the United Kingdom behind the wheel of a Toyota SFR Racing concept and a Toyota 86 Group B rally car respectively.
The final or battle royale meanwhile, will require the top 10 fastest drivers to take on Brazil’s 4.309km Autodromo Interlagos behind the wheel of a 591 bhp Toyota GR Supra Racing Concept, and piloting a 1,000bhp Toyota TS050 Hybrid at the 7.004 km Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
The top three winners will also automatically go on to represent Malaysia and go up against the best online racers in Asia in the regional finals of the Toyota GAZOO Racing GT Cup organized by Toyota Motor Asia Pacific (TMAP) to be held on 2 October. The winner of this will then advance to the Global finals to be held in Monaco on 25 November.
Among the favourites returning this weekend are two-time defending champion Taj Izrin Aiman Taj Madira, and the 2020 runner-up and third place winners Muhammad Iqbal Ahmad Suji and Mior Hafiz, as well as 2018 winner Muhammad Uzair. All four racers have had the opportunity to go on to the Regional Finals and will be hoping that 2022 will be the year which sees the first Malaysian driver going on to represent Asia in the Global Finals.
“The Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship has been an incredibly rewarding experience. It was the first major title I won when I took up virtual racing in 2020 and I haven’t looked back since. It’s extremely challenging given the pedigree of competitors it attracts every year. Winning the event twice in a row was surprising as it was memorable, and now that I’m back for the third year, I intend to give it everything to see if can secure a third consecutive title,” said 24-year-old Taj Izrin Aiman who went on to become champion in 2020 and 2021.
This weekend’s Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship will also feature four exhibition races involving drivers and celebrities competing in the Toyota GAZOO Racing Vios Challenge race series; members of the media, invited gamers; and young drivers in the Vios Challenge rookie class.
The celebrity line-up includes actors Zizan Razak and Shukri Yahaya; television hosts Nabil Ahmad, Ain Edruce and Ahirine Ahirudin; and singers Khai Bahar, Wany Hasrita and Nabila Razali. The Vios Challenge rookies meanwhile, will see four young drivers: Adele Liew, Nabil Azlan, Sharique Zulqarnain and Muizz Musyaffa taking up the challenge.
For more information, visit the UMWT website at www.toyota.com.my