Following on from last season’s huge success as it toured around Malaysia, the next season of the Toyota Vios Challenge will see plenty of new faces as well as the familiar ones that we’ve come to support throughout the season.
The Toyota Vios Challenge is the main attraction of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival organised by UMW Toyota Motor and features around 40 identically race-prepared vehicles competing in three classifications: Promotional Class, Sporting Class and Super Sporting Class.
This season’s race will see the return of celebrities Shawn Lee who is defending champion in the Promotional Class, and fellow artistes Diana Danielle, Janna Nick and Syukri Yahaya who had also completed a refresher course. The outstanding performances of Lee and Syukri last year however, will see both celebrities upgraded to compete in the Sporting Class.
The Sporting Class will see the participation of two talented 14-year-olds and former karting team mates Mohamed Hayden Mohamad Haikal and Oscar Ng Kok Tung; the latter is stepping up into saloon car racing will be following in the footsteps of his father Ng Wai Leong, a former national karter and single-seater race car driver.
In addition to this, there will be six new Malaysian celebrities who will be competing in the Promotional Class. The newcomers to this season’s Toyota Vios Challenge are singers Aiman Tino, Khai Bahar, Nabila Razali, Wany Hasrita, Akim Ahmad and comedian Nabil Ahmad.
Managed by Wing Hin Motorsports under the supervision of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Japan, the Vios Challenge Racing School put these new drivers through six days of intensive training. It included a one-day theory session on the principles of defensive driving, vehicle technology, driving attitude and behaviour, and emergency braking and avoidance techniques.
The drivers subsequently spent another five days on track at the Sepang International Circuit where they were taught the principles of racing, understanding track rules and regulations, how to execute proper gear changes, the heel and toe technique, racing lines and how to enter and exit corners, as well as the proper technique and threshold of braking – all with a manual gearbox.
The racing cars are prepared under the supervision by Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Japan, with the race run to regulations governed by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM). While the cars take after the base model Toyota Vios 1.5, it is fitted with a full roll cage for safety, and equipped with race-worthy modifications including aerodynamics, suspension system, exhaust, brakes, clutch, a limited slip differential, and tyres.
While most of the action and competitive driving takes place on a specially-built street circuit on the grounds of the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu, the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival is a carnival in itself providing members of the public with a range of activities that include the full Toyota model range, stage games, promotional activities, lucky draws and a Superfans Signing Session for a chance to mingle with the celebrity drivers.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival kicks off from 9 am on Friday (3rd August 2018) to Saturday (4th August 2018), and entrance is free. From Kuala Terengganu, the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival will move to the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) in Serdang, Selangor on 19-21 October 2018; the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang from 22-24 February 2019; with the finale being contested at the Sepang International Circuit on 12-14 April 2019.