Automotive Lifestyle


With the return of Malaysian spectators and fans to the Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival and Vios Challenge race series, competitors are the first to rally their support behind the event that is quickly establishing itself as the People’s Race.

“I completely agree the Festival and the Vios Challenge being called the People’s Race. And we want this festival and carnival atmosphere to continue,” said M7 Japan Project Team’s Mohammed Fariqe Hairuman. The international touring car driver is competing in his first season of the Vios Challenge one-make race in the Super Sporting Class for elite and professional drivers.

“In the past, events in Malaysia have been purely focused on racing. With the Vios Challenge, racing has now grown into an automotive festival. This is great because it provides entertainment and recreational activities for the entire family.

Mohammed Fariqe also singled out the Vios Challenge’s one-make format and the presence of the Rookie and Sporting Classes for young and new drivers as being a game changer.

“This is the best about the Vios Challenge. It is a series that requires minimal cost to participate in compared to other racing series in Malaysia whereby a sizeable investment goes into building a competitive car. With a one-make format, this cost is significantly reduced making it accessible to more enthusiasts.

“For newcomers, for instance someone who is transitioning from karting, the Vios Challenge is an ideal platform to start. For the same individual to compete in another series, it will definitely come down to a money game because it is expensive.”

The People’s Race is also something 18-year-old Hayden Haikal attributes his accelerated growth as a racer, having joined the Vios Challenge at the age of 14, and going on to become the youngest ever overall champion in the Sporting Class for amateur drivers at the age of 16. Today, he competes in his second season in the Super Sporting Class as an elite driver.

“I started my saloon car racing career in the Vios Challenge and today I am also competing in several other series. The competition has been incredibly intense, the choice of tracks has been technical and all this has contributed immensely towards helping me grow as a driver.

“The People’s Race is a fitting description. As far as racing is concerned, it is affordable – definitely much cheaper than karting – and it has also helped to develop me as a driver. And with the concept of a Festival, even people who don’t have interest in racing can come and have fun at the event with so many on-ground activities.”

Laser Motor Racing and Super Sporting Class driver Mark Darwin also commended the Festival’s concept of bringing racing to the people and in growing motorsports awareness in Malaysia.

“The biggest difference with the Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival and Vios Challenge series in the past is that we (as racers) go to the crowd instead of having the crowd come to see the races. It has never been as easy task to bring spectators to a racing track but the concept of a Festival has certainly been able to attract them,” said Darwin.

“As a Dealer team we are ALSO going the extra mile to bring spectators and our supporters, complete with banners and drums, to the event. Overall, it’s just an awesome atmosphere.

“As you know motorsports is all about money, although the Vios Challenge is something that is more affordable and accessible to people. What I would like to suggest moving forward is perhaps for Dealer teams to field two cars in the future, one consisting of a professional driver in the Super Sporting Class and the other a completely new driver in the Sporting Class for amateurs. This will also enable the professional drivers to coach and help to develop a pool of new drivers in Malaysia.”

For Super Sporting Class driver Ady Rahimy who is into his second season of the Vios Challenge, the Festival has been an exceptional platform to not only groom his driving skills, but also in promoting the team, their company and sponsors.

“This is definitely a People’s Race. We have several racing championships in Malaysia but this is definitely the best promoted and it catches everyone’s attention, from pure racers to the general public. It is also the best platform for us to promote our team, company and our sponsors.

“What attracted me to the Vios Challenge is the marketing and promotion that surrounds the event. And as a one-make series format, it also goes a long way in developing an individual as a driver. The Vios Challenge is a good and strong foundation to go further in racing because it focuses on skill and technical knowledge and I am certainly excited every time I hit the track.”

Racing fans and enthusiasts can catch the weekend’s Round 2 racing action and stage performances streamed live on the UMW Toyota Motor (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd website at www.toyota.com.my and on the Toyota Malaysia and Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia Facebook pages.

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