Published on November 26th, 2018 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Team Proton R3 Crowned 2018 Sepang 1000KM Champions
Team Proton R3 (R3), have defended the Sepang 1000KM Endurance Race (S1K) title it won in 2017 by claiming a second successive win in the event. Fariqe Hairuman and Syafiq Ali drove their Proton Iriz to the top of the podium in the 181-lap race, simultaneously getting the first major win for the car as well as a fourth S1K title for R3.
By winning the 2018 race, Proton and R3 set new records for the S1K. A fourth overall victory means R3 is the most successful team in the event’s history. It was also the fifth time a Proton car crossed the finish line in first place while the Iriz is the fourth different Proton model to win following victories by the Satria Neo in 2012, Prevé in 2014 and Suprima S in 2016 and 2017. Both achievements are records and making things even sweeter, this was the third time Syafiq Ali won the race, making him the most successful driver in S1K history.
Going further back in history, Proton also has three additional victories in Malaysian endurance racing events. R3 won the 2005 and 2006 Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MME) while the PROTON EON Racing Team (PERT) were the winners of the inaugural MME event in 2000.
Although the drivers get most of the glory, motor racing is a team sport with success dependent on the hard work of multiple key partners and people to ensure a positive result. For instance, the R3 engineers and team personnel spent countless hours to painstakingly build a winning car and the end result reflects the technical capabilities and professionalism of everyone involved. The car then had to be supported by the best parts from the team’s technical partners.
A key partner and sponsor to R3 is Petronas, who supply lubricants to the team. The collaboration between the national oil company and national automotive brand stretches back decades with each party working in a symbiotic relationship that benefits their customers.
Another important ingredient for motorsports success is the support of fans and other external parties. R3 was the most well supported team at S1K as evidenced by the sea of fans dressed in yellow team t-shirts seated in the grandstand during the race. An estimated 2,000 R3 supporters comprising Proton car clubbers, vendors, dealers and even bankers attended the event and their support helped push the team to success.