In motorsport, it is often the case that while the skills of the driver are of great importance, power and financial resources are also major factors for success. Teams with more money can afford better drivers, newer and better cars and other resources that can give them an advantage.
With a one-make race like the Toyota Vios Challenge which recently concluded over the weekend at the Sepang Racing Circuit, the advantages that money can buy are removed. The aim is to make it a race where the skills of the driver matter the most – with a bit of Lady Luck’s help, of course.
All cars equal in performance
The cars were also identical is every respect, having started off as standard Vios 1.5J sedans from the plant and then upgraded in accordance with the rules using TRD parts. They were then offered for sale to the public (each costing around RM90,000) to enter the Vios Challenge and virtually all the units were taken up by authorised Toyota dealers who formed their own teams.
One batch of cars, also similarly and equally prepared and upgraded, was set aside for local celebrities to race against each other in the Promotional Class. Most of the celebrities do not race so they did not have the driving skills for competition.
To prepare them, TRD Asia organized training courses which gave them the necessary knowledge and confidence to drive fast and compete on the tight purpose-built ‘street circuits’ in Penang, Kuala Terengganu, Johor Bahru and the Klang Valley.
The champions of Season 2
Following a successful first season, UMW Toyota Motor ran a second season which had its Grand Finale of the Vios Challenge, which was part of the TGR Racing Festival. Three new champions in the Super Sporting, Sporting and Promotional classes for professionals, amateurs and celebrity drivers respectively at the Sepang International Circuit.
Two cautious but tactical finishes in two races over the final weekend of the season were enough for Boy Wong Yew Choong (above) to take home the crown as Season 2’s overall champion in the Super Sporting Class. Leading the championship as the weekend started, the ST Wangan Racing driver finished third in Race 1 on Saturday and cruised pass the finish line in seventh position in Race 2 on Sunday. Second overall in the championship was Kegani Racing’s William Ho while Dream Chaser’s Brendan Paul Anthony completed the four-round season in third overall.
In the Sporting class for amateur drivers, Tedco Racing’s Brendon Lim (above) claimed the overall championship title. However, it was not an easy victory as only a single point separated him and ST Wangan Racing Team’s Eric Yong while, in third overall, was Panglima City Racing Team’s Kenneth Koh.
Actress Diana Danielle meanwhile, enjoyed a great Season 2 to become overall champion in the Promotional Class, becoming the first ever lady driver to clinch the title. Finishing second and third overall were singers Aiman Tino and Akim Ahmad. Diana had maintained a consistent pace throughout the season, not losing confidence even when her race didn’t end favourably.
8 races, 4 venues
Season 2 of the Toyota Vios Challenge consisted of 4 rounds held in four different venues throughout Malaysia and a total of 8 races. The event opened at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu, before moving to the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) in Selangor, followed by the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang, before heading to the Sepang International Circuit.
“It has certainly been a successful Season 2 for us, and I am pleased to say that the Toyota Gazoo Racing branding has generated tremendous amount of awareness. We look forward to continuing with this initiative as long as possible in Malaysia,” said UMW Toyota Motor Deputy Chairman, Akio Takeyama.