Published on April 28th, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Toyota Vios Challenge …….More Than Just A Race
Street racing is anentirely different ballgame as racers – both amateurs and professionals – beginto come to terms with the art of competing on short, narrow, fast andunconventional racing tracks and continue trying to overcome the challenges andfear of steering clear of the intimidating concrete barriers. Season Two of theToyota Vios Challenge one-make series has been nothing short of explosive,exciting and intensely competitive.
From the season opener in theSultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu, to the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) inSelangor, and followed by the Batu KawanStadium in Penang, the fourth and final round of Season Two will be contestedat the Sepang International Circuit on 27-28 April 2019 with the overallchampionship to be decided by nothing short of a three-way battle in each ofthe three classes; Promotional, Sporting and Super Sporting.
While racers welcome the rare chance of being ableto compete on specially-constructed street circuits, it required them to retunetheir driving styles to becoming more precise, intuitive, patient and brakingearlier in order to get around the tracks which were normally no more than 2kmin length and provided little to limited overtaking opportunities andabsolutely no run-off areas. Mistakes have been severely punished and a hard run-inwith the concrete barriers normally spelt out retirements or overtime for themechanics back in the pit as they worked around the clock to get the carsprepared for the following race.
“The concept of organizing a one-make race onspecially-built temporary street circuits in strategic locations around thecountry has been nothing short of challenging, but it has also been anextremely rewarding exercise. Rewarding in the context that the Toyota ViosChallenge is currently the only street racing series in Malaysia and SoutheastAsia it offers racers an entirely new dimensionof racing especially in Malaysia with its own unique attraction,” said UMWToyota Motor Sdn Bhd Pesident, Mr Ravindran K.
“For Toyota, this (street circuit) serves two veryimportant objectives. The first is to providelocal 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 thecapability of our products on the track but also making the event far moreaccessible to be enjoyed by the masses.”
Apart from it being adaunting logistical task, the other big challenge for Toyota in its pursuit hasbeen in identifying strategic locations nationwide large enough to safelyaccommodate the construction of the street circuit and carnival area forspectators.
With the fourth and finalround of Season Two being contested at the Sepang International Circuit insteadof a street circuit, the fight for the overall championship title for all threeclasses of in the Toyota Vios Challenge is expected to be even more intense asracers find themselves competing in their element and on more familiar turf.
The decision to hold therace on a circuit and not a street circuit was a strategic one, one whichsurprises even the racers, and is expected to produce the fastest and closestracing yet this season as the winner for the overall championship title remainsanyone’s guess.
In the Promotional Classfor local celebrities, the overall championship will be a three-way battleinvolving actress Diana Danielle, singer Akim ahmad and celebrity presenterNabil Ahmad. Diana currently leads the overall point standings with 79 points,with both Akim and Nabil tied for second place with 72 points. All threedrivers have been consistent, raking up victories and podium finishesthroughout the six races held over three rounds so far.
In the Sporting class, thechampionship is a four-way tussle involving Patrick Tam of team Nanoplus, EricYong of ST Wangan Racing Team, Kenneth Koh of Panglima City Racing Team andBrendon Lim of Tedco Racing. Also to look out for will be the boy wonder of theSeries, 15-year-old Hayden Haikal who has enjoyed a phenomenal first season ofracing.
Competition in the SuperSporting class for professionals meanwhile, is expected to be even stiffer withno less than four drivers in the running for the overall championship win: BoyWong of ST Wangan Racing Team, William Ho and Kenny Lee of Kegani Racing and BrendanPaul Anthony of Dream Chaser. Brendan Paul coincidentally, is last year’sSporting 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, theSeason 2 finale at Sepang International Circuit is expected to be a thrillingone 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.