Three simulator racers, Taj Izrin Aiman Taj Madira, Muhammad Iqbal Ahmad Suji and Nabil Azlan will spearhead Malaysia’s challenge in the Toyota GAZOO Racing GT CUP ASIA on 16 October 2021.
The event, organized by Toyota Motor Asia Pacific (TMAP), will see team Malaysia going up against the region’s elite racers from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, India and Taiwan for a chance to become Asia’s two representatives at the TGR GT Cup Global Finals, and a cash prize of US$6,000.00.
Gunning to become champion this time round is Taj Izrin Aiman who finished second overall in the same event last year. Compatriot Muhammad Iqbal meanwhile, will also be making his second appearance in the TGR GT CUP ASIA after finishing fourth overall last year. Both drivers had earned their way to the event by finishing in the top two positions respectively in the recently-concluded Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship with Taj Izrin Aiman winning his second consecutive title.
The TGR GT CUP ASIA will be contested over four online races with competitors awarded points based on their placings. The opening race will see drivers competing behind the wheel of a GR Yaris in a five-lap bout around the 7.3km Tokyo Expressway – where the top-ten will proceed to the finals.
They will then switch to a GR Supra for another five-laps for the consolation race, this time at the famous 4.5km Fuji Speedway – only this time, the top-five will given second wind to be part of the finals.
Making its debut this season will be the all-new GR 86, and racers will take on five laps of the 7.0km Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium which will include a mandatory pit stop and a compulsory tyre change. The fourth and final race will, and undoubtedly the most grueling, will be three long laps of the 13.6km historical Le Mans circuit in France behind the wheel of a TS 050 Hybrid sports car.
Besides competing for the individual grand prize of US$6,000, our Malaysian drivers will also be vying for the US$6,000 team prize pool money. For 23-year-old Taj Izrin Aiman, two straight Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship titles and his second appearance in the TGR GT CUP ASIA, is indeed the boost he needs to psyche himself up for the competition.
“If last year’s event is anything to go by, All I can say is that the TGR GT CUP ASIA is insanely competitive considering we will be racing against the region’s best drivers,” Said Taj Izrin Aiman. “The most important thing will be to remain focus and consistent. You cannot afford to make mistakes on any of the four races, and if you do, the odds of bouncing back into championship contention will be anything from slim to impossible.”
His performance in the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship has been exceptionally consistent and almost dominant when he won two of the three races and finished second once earning him the overall prize of RM20, 000. More than 800 participants participated in the championship which began with qualifying rounds from 21-29 August, before the top 20 elite racers moved on to compete in semi-finals held on 18 September 2021.
“E-racing has taken the country and the region by storm, and this has uncovered an incredible pool of talented simulator racers. Racing is an integral part of Toyota’s heritage and today that takes place both in the real and virtual worlds,” said GAZOO Racing Malaysia’s Chief Motorsports Officer Akio Takeyama.
“Simulator racing technology has also evolved exponentially over the years and today it is becoming an increasingly important training platform to bring new drivers into motor-racing. This is something we have already experienced firsthand with the participation of virtual racers in the Vios Challenge – street racing championship in Malaysia. They are not only capable of making a quicker transition into a racing car, but they are also excelling in racing.”
Billed as one of the most lucrative local online racing series in the country, the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship was first held in 2018 and UMW Toyota Motor remains the first and the only Malaysian car company to be associated with fast-growing E-sports motor-racing activities. Similarly, the TGR GT CUP ASIA is also the only event of its kind in the region organized by a manufacturer.
President of UMW Toyota Motor, Ravindran K. said both the TGR GT CUP ASIA and the Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship supports UMW Toyota Motor’s ongoing initiative to bring motorsports to the masses.
“Our objective in Malaysian motorsports is to cultivate greater interest, awareness and appreciation for the sport. There is also enormous talent both on the racing circuit and online, and we would like to bring this to the forefront in support of youth development.”