Bandar Malaysia set the stage for the fastest street racing action so far in three seasons of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival and Toyota Vios Challenge, rewarding those who commit but equally taking its toll on those who fear high speed tracks.
At 1.96km, the Bandar Malaysia track is one of the fastest and longest ever constructed for the series. It features 20 corners and two long straights, the longest being 600 meters. Higher speeds however, also mean a higher attrition rate with a number of drivers forced into early retirement after colliding with the concrete barrier.
In the Sporting Class for amateur drivers, S&D Tama Motorsports’ Tom Goh raced to his first victory of the season ahead of Crestmax Motorsports’ Adam Khalid in second place, in an incident-riddled 20-lap race which saw the race being held under safety car conditions twice. In third place was 15-year-old Hayden Haikal.
23 Motors’ Mirza Syahmi Mahzan led opening stages of the race from pole position but his race weekend was severely ruined by a 15-second penalty for a start infringement subsequently followed by a retirement.
Three laps into the race, Saksama Motorsports’ Ricky Tan was too wide going into a left hander and collided with the concrete barrier ending his race which brought out the safety car. When the safety car peeled off the track three laps later it didn’t take more than a few corners to bring it right back out due to a second collision between Distinctive Model’s Clement Yeo and Panglima City Racing Team’s Kenneth Koh.
“After Mirza’s crash, it was pretty much a race on my own at the front. I was however, trying to play it safe because the level of grip on the track was completely different during the race to what we had initially set-up the car for (wet conditions) during the unofficial practice session,” said Tom.
For Adam, second place was a solid finish considering he started fifth on the grid and missed out on scoring any championship points due to a badly damaged car in the opening round of Season 3 in Kuala Terengganu in September.
“This is literally my first race weekend considering I was unable to compete in Kuala Terengganu after an incident during qualifying. It’s a great result for me.”
SUPER SPORTING CLASS
The pros delivered a sterling drive as expected in the Super Sporting Class with 23 Motors’ Tengku Djan Ley storming to victory from pole position, finishing the 20-lap battle around the 1.96km track just two seconds ahead of Laser Motor Racing’s Mark Darwin and Telegamas Toyota’s Freddie Ang in third place.
Tengku Djan and Mark set a blistering pace and were locked in a private duel at the front, while Freddie and Toyotsu Racing’s William Ho engaged in a second private battle
“My car felt good throughout the whole race and I could keep a consistent pace. I saw the lead stretching so I just maintained my focus to retain a comfortable gap to the finish. The track in Bandar Malaysia is wide and it allows you to take many different lines of attack into the corners and that builds for closer racing which is good,” said Tengku Djan
While drivers endured a wet track on the first day of unofficial practice, today’s race was run in perfectly good dry weather which made it difficult for racing crews to find the most ideal set-up for the cars.
“This is the best track we’ve been able to race in the championship. There are slow corners and also high speed corners which really reward drivers who commit. It is also about how well you can set-up the car. So it doesn’t just boil down to the driver, but you’re talking about an entire package in order to excel,” said Mark.
“Frankly speaking, I prefer it to be a wet race tomorrow. In rain, anything can happen. You can be the fastest but all it takes is one mistake and you’re out. It’ll be quite exciting and I certainly hope it rains tomorrow.”
In the class for celebrities, beat boxer Shawn Lee made a text book start from pole position to win the 20-lap race ahead of actor Shukri Yahaya and presenter Nabil Ahmad who finished third.
Shawn practically drove unopposed as the top three drivers broke away from the rest of the pack.
“I really love this track. It’s really high speed,” said Shawn who eventually crossed the finish line 2.2 seconds ahead of Shukri. Finishing fourth and fifth were actress Diana Danielle and singer Khai Bahar.
The race was placed under safety car conditions in the 10th lap when actor Syafiq Kyle crashed into the wall.
Meanwhile, the battle for sixth and seventh position was also intense between singers Wany Hasrita and Nabila Razali, and it lasted for a good 16 laps before Nabila managed to successfully overtake.
“Today was a very difficult day for me but thankfully, I managed to overcome these challenges. I love the track but I must admit that it is very tricky,” said Nabila.
For model Ain Edruce, finishing eighth was a consolation considering she started 10 on the grid after running into the wall during the qualifying session.
Race 2 continues tomorrow with the top six finishers lining up on the starting grid in reverse order.
For race fans and spectators, the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival will showcase Toyota’s fleet of vehicles, test drive sessions, a drift performance by professional Japanese drivers, a concert, a bey blade and racing simulator challenge, and the sale of merchandise. Visitors to the festival will also be able to get up close and personal with the newly-launched Toyota GR Supra.
Entrance is free of charge and the event is from 9.00am to 6.00pm.
RESULTS: RACE 1
1. Shawn Lee
2. Shukri Yahaya
3. Nabil Ahmad
4. Diana Danielle
5. Khai Bahar
1. Tom Goh (S&D Tama Motorsports)
2. Adam Khalid (Crestmax Motorsports)
3. Hayden Haikal (S&D Motorsports)
4. Bradley Benedict (Dream Chaser)
5. Vincent Ng (Team Fokus Tetap)
1. Tengku Djan Ley (23 Motors)
2. Mark Darwin (Laser Motor Racing)
3. Freddie Ang (Telagamas Toyota)
4. William Ho (Toyotsu Racing)
5. Brendon Lim (Tedco Racing)