Thrilling race action and a multitude of activities await spectators at Round 2 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival and Malaysia’s premier street-racing series the Toyota Vios Challenge which will be held at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) in Selangor this weekend from 20-21 October 2018.
The opening round of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival and the first two races of the Toyota Vios Challenge was held in Kuala Terengganu in August and attracted more than 20,000 spectators.
The two-day festival will showcase the preview of a brand new Toyota model, test drives, promotions and celebrity performances to thrilling race action by racers competing in the Promotional, Sporting and Super Sporting classes respectively on a purpose-built street circuit.
“Toyota is All About the Drive, and the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival provides an ideal platform for our customers to experience this. We invite everyone to come see for themselves the reliability, durability, safety, competitiveness and performance of our vehicles, in particular the 1.5-litre Vios, in the hands of racers competing in the Toyota Vios Challenge, ” said UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd President, Mr. Ravindran K.
“One of the highlights of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival at MAEPS, will be the exclusive preview and test drive /taxi ride of the All-new Toyota Rush, a 1.5-litre compact sports utility vehicle (SUV),” he added.
In the Promotional Class, the overall point standings after one round of the series have been dominated by ladies.
Singer Akim Ahmad leads the championship with a commanding 35 points after a stellar performance in the first two races held in Kuala Terengganu, but it is Diana Danielle, Wany Hasrita and Janna Nick who drove into the spotlight and a recurrently in second, third and fourth places with 24, 17 and 16 points respectively. In fifth position, is singer Aiman Tino.
Both Akim and Diana have one race victory to their credit, while Wany had driven consistently in her debut to finish fifth in both races. The more experienced Janna had claimed third and seventh positions in her first two races.
“It has been a strong start to the season for me and the game plan right from the beginning has been to drive consistently, pace myself and keep out of trouble, especially staying away from the concrete barriers. This was after all my first time racing and I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Akim, lead singer for the popular group Akim & the Majistret.
“It is not as easy as it looks (racing) and it demands a lot of concentration as much as it requires physical stamina. I really have plenty of respect for the other racers in the series who are involved in this series professionally.”
For Diana who is competing in her second season of the Toyota Vios Challenge, experience has taught her that qualifying at the front of the grid is critical on a tight street circuit. She had qualified on pole position in race 1 to stay ahead of the other celebrities and kept her cool to claim victory 2.4 seconds ahead of her nearest rival in the 22-lap race. In a reverse grid position for race 2, her fortunes were not as bright as she struggled to get pass the competition and had to settle for eighth position, completing only 20 of the 22-lap race.
“The biggest challenge in any street race, especially on a tight circuit, is that there is practically little or no chance of overtaking unless the driver in front of you makes a mistake. If you are impatient to pass the car in front of you, you might make a huge mistake and brush the concrete barrier and ultimately end ing your race and therefore, it is important to qualify in front just as much as the race is about strategy,” said the 27-year-old star.
With more “seat time”, the individuals to look out for in Round 2 in MAEPS will also be television host Nabil Ahmad and singer Aiman who have both tasted podium finishes in their debut. Nabil positioned himself as a clear race favourite after qualifying second but crashed in race 1 only to redeem himself with a third place in race 2, while Aiman captured a second place finish in race 2 and was also a casualty in race 1.
Also looking to improve on their on-track performance are singers Khai Bahar and Nabila Razali, and UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd Deputy Chairman, Akio Takeyama.
Competition is again expected to be at its most intense in the Sporting Class with celebrities Shawn Lee and Shukri Yahaya, battling it out in a pool of competitive racers.
Promoted into the Sporting Class after being declared champion in last season’s Promotional Class, Round 1 proved to be a baptism by fire for Shawn who found himself in the company of quicker, competitive and more aggressive drivers. Interestingly, he set the fastest time around the Kuala
Terengganu street circuit to claim pole position and went on to set a blistering pace to win race 1 much to the surprise of everyone.
“It’s definitely a lot tougher this time round, but I’m approaching every race with optimism making sure that I keep my cool and focus, drive consistently and keep clear of any drama especially the concrete barriers. We’ve had two months to reflect on the opening round of the season and to take the necessary steps to prepare for a stronger performance in Round 2,” said Asia’s top beatboxer who will be looking to repeat his race win at MAEPS last season.
Shukri however, failed to take full advantage of qualifying second on the grid when he retired from both races. The actor however, will be looking to repeat his drive to victory at MAEPS last season.
Drivers to look out for in Round 2 will again be Tedco Racing’s Brendon Lim, last season ’s runner-up who had also finished second and fifth in the opening two races in Round 1. Another contender will be Patrick Tam who is currently second in the overall point standings behind Shawn and also with one race victory under his belt.
Other notable drivers to keep an eye on are Dannies Ng Khai Ee, Kenneth Koh, Eric Yong and Vincent Ng who are currently fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively in the overall point standings separated by only a few points. With the exception of Eric whose best performance was a fourth place, all other drivers have enjoyed a podium finish in Round 1.
SUPER SPORTING CLASS
The professionals in the Super Sporting Class can always be counted on to put up a close and nail-biting race and Round 2 is expected to be no less intense than the drama that unfolded in Round 1.
Leading the overall point standings is currently Revo Technik Malaysia’s William Ho who drove a composed Round 1 to win race 1 and finish second in race 2 in Kuala Terengganu. Also with one race victory to his credit is M7 Racing Team’s Syafiq Ali who is currently second in the point standings eight points adrift.
Podium contenders for Round 2 include Dream Chaser’s Mark Darwin, ST Wangan Racing Team’s Boy Wong, Revo Technik Malaysia’s Kenny Lee, Brendan Paul Anthony and Keifli Othman currently third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively in the point standings. Keifli joins another veteran racer Eddie Liew at Team Nanoplus but will start Round 2 with the disadvantage of having three Series points deducted and serving a 10-place grid penalty following a race incident involving him and Kenny in the first round.
Making his debut in the Toyota Vios Challenge is former Porsche Carrera Cup Asia driver and 2014
Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race champion Alif Mohamed Hamdan.
Action at the two-day Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival and Toyota Vios Challenge kicks off on Saturday (20th October 2018) with qualifying sessions and race 1for the Promotional, Sporting and Super Sporting classes on track and a host of activities on the Festival grounds for spectators that include;
- •Display and test drive of Toyota’s latest range of models,
- •All-new Toyota Rush Preview
- •Concert by the Toyota Gazoo Racing celebrities,
- •Promotional activities,
- •Superfans Signing Session (a chance to mingle with the celebrity drivers),
- •Appearance by Baby Shark mascot,
- •Display and sales of merchandise booths,
- •Stage games,
- •Gathering of car clubs,
- •Simulator racing challenge,
- •Drift performance by Toyo Tyres
- •Lucky draw.
After Kuala Terengganu in August and this weekend’s Round 2 at MAEPS, the festival is scheduled to travel to the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang in February 2019; with the finale being contested at the Sepang International Circuit in April 2019.