Automotive Lifestyle

Hayden Haikal ventures with new series, car and team for second year of racing in Thailand

Malaysian rising race car driver Hayden Haikal is ready to challenge and debut at the Idemitsu Super Turbo Championship in Thailand this weekend at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram (10-12 March 2023). 

This year is his second year of competing internationally and in Thailand, the 18-year-old Malaysian driver will be racing with the Toyota Vios in the D4 class for cars with normally-aspirated engines up to 1550cc. Last year, Hayden was crowned the overall runner-up in another Thai championship, the Thailand Super Eco Saloon Car Series. 

He is racing with Malaysian team Wing Hin Motorsports as the super touring variant of the Vios which is fitted with a five-speed sequential transmission. 

“I’m extremely honored to have been entrusted by the team to lead their charge in Thailand. They’ve always wanted to compete in Thailand and here we are. It’s my second year competing in Thailand, it is a brand new series and it is extremely competitive. The team however, is confident that we can make an impact,” said Hayden who will be up against a field of 22 other drivers. 

“It’s too early to say what kind of competition we will be up against because the rest of the drivers are relatively unknown to us but we will certainly be gunning for a win if not a top three finish at our first race weekend.” 

Rounds 1 and 2 of the championship will involve a nine-lap race on Saturday and an 11-lap race around the 4.554km circuit. The championship consists of six rounds with Rounds 3 and 4 is scheduled for 19-21 May, while the final two rounds (5 & 6) will be from 16-18 June 2023, with all races taking places at the Chang International Circuit. 

“Chang International Circuit is a very high speed circuit. You can’t afford to make a mistake because if you do, the other drivers will be on you immediately. It has an extremely long straight and a 90 degree corner which I feel is the most challenging,” said the young man who won at the circuit on three occasions last year. 

“We also got our work cut out for us because we’ve had no prior testing going into the race weekend. I have not yet driven this supped up version of the Toyota Vios, although I finished second overall in the Yaris at last year’s S1K and the performance is somewhat similar. I’ll have to make this transition very quickly and I will be banking on my years of driving in the Vios Challenge to come in handy.”  

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