Toyota Vios achieves historic win at Sepang 1000km endurance race

By ramieza, 22 November 2022

Vios leads historic victory

Toyota returned to the prestigious Sepang 1000KM endurance race with a vengeance to clinch a historic 1-2 victory in the 9-hour race at Sepang International Circuit. Three Toyotas finished in the  top five overall positions and in the Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) Class in only Toyota’s second  year participating in the race. 

Toyota GAZOO Racing Malaysia’s #37 Vios with GAZOO Racing Malaysia ambassador Tengku Djan  Ley Tengku Mahaleel and reigning Vios Challenge Sporting Class champion Naquib Azlan won the  181-lap race from pole position to cross the finish line 6.2 seconds ahead of their nearest rival - the #39 Yaris piloted by Hayden Haikal and Jwan Hii for Wing Hin Motorsports which is UMW  Toyota Motor’s dealer. Third place went to the Hi Rev Dream Chaser team’s Mitchell Cheah and  Brendan Paul Anthony, while in fourth position was the #38 Wing Hin Motorsports Yaris driven by  the pair of Boy Wong and Dannies Ng both cars finishing a lap down. Rounding up the top five  positions and finishing four laps down from the winning Vios was R Engineering HMRT’s Lee Wee  Sing and Leon Khoo Beng Koon in the Honda City. 

“2021’s was all about learning and gaining track time to develop both the Vios and Yaris to take  on the prestigious 1000KM challenge. We had an extensive program in place as well as competitive  cars, and we went on to win the race but we had to accept a penalty which classified us third in  the MTC Class. Going on to win the race this year and doing it in the manner where we not only  led from start to finish but had three cars in the top five positions overall more than makes up for  that setback,” said UMW Toyota Motor President Ravindran K. 

“From its standard production model form competing in five seasons of the Vios Challenge race  series to its debut in the Vios Sprint Cup which is a one-hour race and now winning a 9-hour  endurance race, the Vios has against all odds firmly established itself as a competitive model on  the track.” 

Ravindran said Toyota’s involvement in Malaysian motorsports has more importantly contributed  to helping uncover and groom many new young driving talents. 

“It’s about giving back to the community and in our case it means providing potential young  Malaysian talent with the right platform and the opportunities to grow as competitive drivers. This  has been consistent throughout GAZOO Racing Malaysia’s program over the past five years which began with affordable participation in the Vios Challenge, the introduction of a Young Talent  Development Program, and establishing a Rookie Class of racing in the Vios Challenge to  promoting young drivers up the motorsports ladder to drive in more competitive machines and  classes. I also want to thank our partners and sponsors for playing an instrumental part in the  company’s racing achievements.” 

Starting from pole position the #37 Toyota Vios of Naquib led into the first lap of the race before  pacing in third position after the first hour of racing. A slightly dislodged rear bumper due to  contact on the track brought the car into the pit earlier than planned and cost him several minutes  in repair. With team mate Tengku Djan taking over driving duties going into the second hour, the  #37 climbed one position to second place posting a lap of time 2 minutes 39.160 almost one  second clear of everyone else. 

Toyota’s prowess on the track was further demonstrated by having all three of its cars consistently  running the race in the top 5 positions. The second hour of racing onwards was dominated by the  pair of Hayden Haikal and Jwan Hii who led the race in the #39 Yaris, while team mates Boy Wong  and Dannies Ng in the #38 Yaris rounded up the top three positions. All four drivers also happen  to be regular contenders in the Vios Challenge race series. 

With 58 laps to go or after six hours of racing, the pair of Tengku Djan and Naquib swept into the  lead with a one lap advantage over Hayden and Hii, while the #38 Yaris of Wong and Ng trailed 58  seconds adrift in fourth position just behind the Hi Rev Dream Chaser’s Mitchell Cheah. The #38  had been running as high as third where it stayed for more than an hour but with 13 laps to go, Hi  Rev Dream Chaser’s Cheah reclaimed that position. 

“I’ve done so many endurance races on simulator but this was the first time I’ve started an  endurance race in real life. I’m happy to say there weren’t too many butterflies and I managed to  calm my nerves. It was unfortunate that someone clipped my rear bumper in the first corner and  we lost some time after being flagged in to come in for repairs. 

“All in all, it was a great race. We wanted to make sure we had a clean race and that everything  went according to plan,” said Naquib. 

Naquib was one of the GAZOO Racing Malaysia’s pioneer rookie racers in the Vios Challenge,  transitioning from simulator racing to saloon car racing. He was crowned the overall Rookie Class  champion in 2021, went on to win this year’s overall Sporting Class championship and will return  for Season 6 next year to compete in the Super Sporting Class for elite and professional drivers.  

For another young driver, Hayden, who was chasing his first elusive S1K victory, finishing second  was still an outstanding result after amassing two third place finishes over the last two years. 

“I misjudged the start and fell back to fourth position before catching up with the leaders and  trying to maintain a good pace,” said Hayden.  

“It’s the same car we drove in last year’s S1K but we’ve had a whole year of familiarizing ourselves  with the car this time having competed in the Malaysia Championship Series. I wanted to win, I 

expected nothing less than a top three finish but I’ll take second place after a very close race from  start to finish.” 

Toyota GAZOO Racing Malaysia’s Standard Production (SP2) Class entry led by Vios Challenge  Rookies Nabil Azlan (who is also this year’s Rookie champion), Muizzuddin Musyaffa and  Muhammad Hamdany meanwhile, endured a troubled start despite qualifying on pole position. The trio of young drivers finished 11th in their first ever S1K race. 

A total of 77 cars lined up on the grid for the start of 14th edition of the Sepang 1000KM endurance  race which was run over 180 laps or nine hours. The race featured the MTC and SP2 Classes for  cars below 1600cc and the GAZOO Racing Vios Enduro Cup which was a race exclusively for the  Toyota Vios cars competing in the Vios Challenge race series,. 

In the GAZOO Racing Vios Enduro Cup Class, the father and son team of Al Farouk and Abdul Miqail driving for 23 Motors stormed to victory ahead of team mates Ady Rahimy and Amir Husin Mubarak, while in third was Carroof Motorsport’s quartet of Mirza Syahmi Mahzan, Aiman Haziq  and Khair Nur Adi and Khair Nur Adli.  

“It was a great race and my second time racing alongside my son in the S1K. To be honest the Vios  Challenge has provided Abdul Miqail with a very strong foundation to develop his driving skills ,”  said Al Farouk. 

Victory earned Al Farouk and Abdul Miqail RM10,000 in prize money, while the second and third  place finishers bagged RM8,000 and RM6,000 respectively. The GAZOO Racing Vios Enduro Cup  offered a total of RM30,000 in prize monies with the fourth and fifth place winners also taking  home RM4,000 and RM2,000 respectively. A total of 14 cars were vying for honors in this exclusive  class. 

For more information, log on to Toyota official website.