Malaysian drift king, accomplished racer and two-time Toyota Vios Challenge champion Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel has been appointed as Gazoo Racing’s Ambassador in Malaysia.
Tengku Djan has been a dominant force in Malaysia’s premier street racing series. He was crowned Super Sporting Class champion in Season 1 of the Vios Challenge before returning to Season 2 in a management role as Team Manager. The racing bug however, was too strong to resist and he subsequently rejoined the action on the track in Season 3 where he again exerted such dominance enroute to winning his second successive championship.
Tengku Djan’s list of accomplishments on track includes becoming two-time Merdeka Millennium Endurace Race champion in 2005 and 2006; and winning the 2014 and 2016 Sepang 1000KM Endurance Race. He was also the recipient of the National Driver Award in the 2017 Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM) awards.
A Vehicle Dynamics Engineer by profession, Tengku Djan is also a huge force to be reckoned with in the sport of drifting, where he is the reigning Formula Drift Asia champion. He was the 2006 D1 Grand Prix Malaysia champion; the 2009 and 2010 Formula Drift Asia champion, and holds the distinction of flying the Malaysian flag at the D1GP All-Star World Championship at Irwindale Speedway Los Angeles in the United States. He is also among a handful of Asian drifters to have been invited to compete alongside the world’s best at the 2008 Red Bull Formula Drift World Championship 2008 in Long Beach, California.
“Tengku Djan brings incredible skill, experience, energy, enjoyment and passion into motor-racing and this embodies the spirit of Gazoo Racing which is constantly out to push the limits,” said UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd Deputy Chairman and Gazoo Racing Malaysia’s Chief Motorsport Officer Akio Takeyama.
As Gazoo Racing Ambassador Takeyama said, Tengku Djan will be in the forefront of not only racing, but will also be principally spearheading activities and programs involving Toyota’s GR models. Tengku Djan is also one of several instructors in the Gazoo Racing Young Talent Development Program who are entrusted to nurture young karters and sim racers make the transition to saloon car racing. He also spearheaded the development of the GR-Sport Vios.
“First of all I think it’s very special to have Toyota back in the motorsports scene locally. It’s been years since Toyota last entered motorsports locally in such a big way, perhaps as far back as the 80s, before returning to establish the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival three years ago. With Toyota aligning it motorsports activities under the Gazoo Racing brand today, and the accomplishments it has made in international motorsports as well as in Malaysia, I’m honored to be part of it and it’s going to be an exciting journey ahead,” said Tengku Djan.
“The GR brand is about driving pleasure and passion. As a GR Ambassador I don’t have to change my personality because this is something that I too believe in. Cars and products should be enjoyable to drive and not just driven to get from point A to B. For me, it is important that products and driving pleasure go hand in hand.”
Tengku Djan’s first encounter with a GR vehicle was when Toyota unveiled the GR Supra last year. He was also instrumental in providing valuable technical feedback into the development of the newly-launched GR-Sport Vios. “As I mentioned earlier, the GR cars are built to indulge the driver with diving pleasure. On one hand you have what is ultimately an iconic vehicle in the GR Supra both in terms of performance and heritage, and on the other hand the GR essence also extends to more affordable models like the GR-Sport Vios which has been extensively re-engineered to optimize the performance and driving pleasure in the common man’s sedan. Models like the GR Yaris meanwhile, sets entirely new standards for a performance hot-hatch especially since it involved designing and engineering a car from the ground up intended purely for racing purposes before being refined for road use, and not the other way around which is the traditional method. That’s definitely put the GR Yaris in a class of its own and basically this will the closest anyone will get to driving a road legal competition car,” said Tengku Djan.
Commenting on his return to Season 4 of the Vios Challenge and whether his appointment as GR Ambassador would have any impact, Tengku Djan said: “The competition is really tough, whether or not I am appointed Ambassador. It does add a bit of pressure but competing is more important than winning or losing. Having said that, in racing, we all go out to win and that objective hasn’t changed.”