The Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu will provide an iconic backdrop for the opening round of Season 3 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Festival, Malaysia’s premier street racing series. 

Held on specially-constructed 1.65km street circuit around the stadium grounds in Gong Badak, the two-day TGR Festival from 6-7 September 2019 (Friday & Saturday), will feature exhilarating door-to-door action on the track with celebrity, amateur and professional racing drivers competing in three classes of saloon car racing (Promotional, Sporting and Super Sporting classes respectively) in the one-make Toyota Vios Challenge. 

“Toyota has accomplished so much in motor-racing and the objective behind the TGR Festival and Toyota Vios Challenge is to bring enthusiasts and customers closer to the brand and our products by leveraging on Toyota’s rich motorsports heritage,” said Mr. Akio Takeyama, Deputy Chairman of UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd. 

“The TGR Festival celebrates the success of Toyota and Gazoo Racing in global motorsports, from our achievements in the Dakar Rally and World Rally Championship to the historic victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and translating these accomplishments to benefit the masses domestically.” 

This will be the second consecutive season the TGR Festival will travel to Kuala Terengganu, before making its way to the Klang Valley and Johor for another three rounds. The four-round Festival and championship consists of eight races involving more than 40 drivers competing on a mix of specially-constructed street circuits and a permanent racing circuit. 

Meanwhile, UMW Toyota Motor President Mr. Ravindran K. said the TGR Festival and Toyota Vios Challenge had also evolved into an affordable and attractive platform for young drivers to hone their skills in their pursuit to reach the higher levels of motor-racing. Case in point was the achievements of 15-year-old Hayden Haikal who successfully transitioned from karting to saloon car racing en route to becoming the youngest ever driver to have won a race in the TGR Festival/Toyota Vios Challenge. 

“The TGR Festival is also an extreme proving ground to demonstrate the capabilities of Toyota cars, especially introductory models like the Vios. For Toyota, it is equally important that our vehicles not only fulfill the growing expectations of today’s car buyers, but live up to the most enduring conditions, and are able to offer a high degree of driving satisfaction, performance and ownership excitement,” said Ravindran. 

A total of 10 local celebrities will line-up on the grid in Kuala Terengganu with actress Diana Danielle leading the charge returning as the defending champion. 

Others competing include actor Shukri Yahaya, beat-boxer Shawn Lee, actress Janna Nick, presenter Nabil Ahmad, singer Khai Bahar, singer Nabila Razali, and singer Wany Hasrita. Season 3 also welcomes two newcomers, actress/presenter Ain Edruce, and actor Syafiq Kyle. Takeyama will also be returning to compete in the series in his third straight season. 

“It has been a phenomenal journey for me on the racing track. The competition in Season 2 was so intense right up to the final race where I won the championship by a marginal 6 points. My approach has always been to take one race at a time, being consistent and steering out of trouble and so far that strategy has worked for me,” said Diana. 

“There is a degree of pressure since I’m now expected to successfully defend it but I’m feeling good and I’ve settled into the new Vios race car which is more agile, stable and precise in the corners. I’m pretty certain every single driver in the Promotional class is going to bring their “A” game this season!” 

The pool of celebrities also expect the competition to be tougher with the return of Shukri Yahaya and Shawn Lee who moves back to the Promotional class after a season-long stint competing against drivers in the Sporting class. 

“Competing in the Sporting class was extremely tough but Shukri and I learnt a lot alongside the more experienced drivers. It has definitely made us battle-hardened drivers,” said Lee. 

The Sporting class will see boy wonder Hayden Haikal returning for his second consecutive season and will be joined by the likes of Kenneth Koh who finished third last season, and Dato’ Ken Foo who was fifth overall in Season 2. 

Meanwhile, the Super Sporting class sets the stage for a battle between two former champions - Boy Wong will take to the grid as defending champion (Season 2) and Tengku Djan Ley who was Season 1’s winner. Also competing will be William Ho who finished runner-up in the last two seasons, last season’s third place overall winner Brendan Paul Anthony and another experienced driver Kenny Lee. 

For motorsports fans and spectators in Kuala Terengganu, the excitement of the TGR Festival is not confined to the action and drama on the track, but includes the display and test drive of Toyota’s fleet of new vehicles, a drift performance by Japanese drifters courtesy of Toyo Tires, a racing simulator challenge, stage games and celebrity performances, promotional activities, lucky draws, the sale of merchandises, and a Superfans Signing Session for a chance to mingle with the celebrities racing in the Promotional class. 

The TGR Festival and Toyota Vios Challenge kicks off from 9am on Friday (6 September 2019) to Saturday (7 September 2019), and entrance is free! 

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