Street racing is an entirely different ballgame as racers - both amateurs and professionals - begin to come to terms with the art of competing on short, narrow, fast and unconventional racing tracks and continue trying to overcome the challenges and fear of steering clear of the intimidating concrete barriers. Season Two of the Toyota Vios Challenge one-make series has been nothing short of explosive, exciting and intensely competitive.
From the season opener in the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu, to the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) in Selangor, and followed by the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang, the fourth and final round of Season Two will be contested at the Sepang International Circuit on 27-28 April 2019 with the overall championship to be decided by nothing short of a three-way battle in each of the three classes; Promotional, Sporting and Super Sporting.
While racers welcome the rare chance of being able to compete on specially-constructed street circuits, it required them to retune their driving styles to becoming more precise, intuitive, patient and braking earlier in order to get around the tracks which were normally no more than 2km in length and provided little to limited overtaking opportunities and absolutely no run-off areas. Mistakes have been severely punished and a hard run-in with the concrete barriers normally spelt out retirements or overtime for the mechanics back in the pit as they worked around the clock to get the cars prepared for the following race.
“The concept of organizing a one-make race on specially-built temporary street circuits in strategic locations around the country has been nothing short of challenging, but it has also been an extremely rewarding exercise. Rewarding in the context that the Toyota Vios Challenge is currently the only street racing series in Malaysia and Southeast Asia it offers racers an entirely new dimension of racing especially in Malaysia with its own unique attraction,” said UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd Pesident, Mr Ravindran K.
“For Toyota, this (street circuit) serves two very important objectives. The first is to provide local racers with an exciting and challenging series to compete in, and secondly, by bringing the races to the masses, it showcases not only their talent and the capability of our products on the track but also making the event far more accessible to be enjoyed by the masses.”
Apart from it being a daunting logistical task, the other big challenge for Toyota in its pursuit has been in identifying strategic locations nationwide large enough to safely accommodate the construction of the street circuit and carnival area for spectators.
With the fourth and final round of Season Two being contested at the Sepang International Circuit instead of a street circuit, the fight for the overall championship title for all three classes of in the Toyota Vios Challenge is expected to be even more intense as racers find themselves competing in their element and on more familiar turf.
The decision to hold the race on a circuit and not a street circuit was a strategic one, one which surprises even the racers, and is expected to produce the fastest and closest racing yet this season as the winner for the overall championship title remains anyone’s guess.
In the Promotional Class for local celebrities, the overall championship will be a three-way battle involving actress Diana Danielle, singer Akim ahmad and celebrity presenter Nabil Ahmad. Diana currently leads the overall point standings with 79 points, with both Akim and Nabil tied for second place with 72 points. All three drivers have been consistent, raking up victories and podium finishes throughout the six races held over three rounds so far.
In the Sporting class, the championship is a four-way tussle involving Patrick Tam of team Nanoplus, Eric Yong of ST Wangan Racing Team, Kenneth Koh of Panglima City Racing Team and Brendon Lim of Tedco Racing. Also to look out for will be the boy wonder of the Series, 15-year-old Hayden Haikal who has enjoyed a phenomenal first season of racing.
Competition in the Super Sporting class for professionals meanwhile, is expected to be even stiffer with no less than four drivers in the running for the overall championship win: Boy Wong of ST Wangan Racing Team, William Ho and Kenny Lee of Kegani Racing and Brendan Paul Anthony of Dream Chaser. Brendan Paul coincidentally, is last year’s Sporting class champion and will be gunning for his second consecutive title, while Ho was last year’s runner-up in the class.
With so much at stake, the Season 2 finale at Sepang International Circuit is expected to be a thrilling one with both on and off the track action for spectators.
Race fans will also be entertained by the antics of two professional Japanese drifters in behind the wheel of race-prepared Toyota 86 drift cars, the large gathering of Toyota car clubs, the display of Toyota’s latest models, numerous promotional activities, a Superfans Signing Session with the Toyota Gazoo Racing celebrities and to end the two-day weekend, a concert by celebrities.