(From left) Diana Danielle, Fattah Amin, Geraldine Gan, Danny Khoo, Ravindran Kurusamy, Akio Takeyama, Shawn Lee, Venice Min, Shukri Yahaya, and Janna Nick at the launch of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival.

UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd, the authorised distributor of Toyota vehicles in Malaysia, launched the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Festival and the Vios Challenge one-make racing series at the Sepang International Circuit last Thursday.

The Vios Challenge is a one-make race featuring 30 Vios cars at the TGR Festival. It is a weekend-long carnival set to take place in Penang, Johor and twice in Kuala Lumpur, between August and March next year.

There will be four races for this season’s Vios Challenge. Each of the race series will take place in a street circuit specially prepared at the three locations.

UMW Toyota Motor and Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) will work together to make sure the circuits are safe and exciting for the participants, as well as the spectators. All regulations are based on International Automobile Federation (FIA) rules.

Rear view of the Vios Challenge race car.

According to UMW Toyota, anyone with a national racing licence issued by AAM is eligible to take part in the race. All they have to do is to purchase the Vios Challenge race car for RM90,000, which includes all the parts, engineering and testing, a set of FIA-approved racing suit and six sessions of racing school training for novice drivers.

A total of 30 drivers will compete in the race series in identical, race-prepared Vios sedans by Wing Hing Motorsports, which are 10 per cent more powerful than the standard model, in order to stand a chance to win a trophy and other prizes. Eight local celebrities, including Danny Koo, Shawn Lee, Geraldine Gan, Diana Danielle, Venice Min, Shukri Yahaya, Fattah Amin and Janna Nick, will be taking part in the event.

Vios Challenge race car.

The Vios Challenge race car is based on the Vios 1.5J manual transmission, with a number of modification. It has the Toyota Racing Development aerodynamic kit, exhaust system, clutch, limited-slip differential, suspension system, brake pads, tower bar, lower brace bar and a full roll cage.

It also comes with a Motec C125 racing display, fire suppression system, 15-inch Enkei rims, Toyo Proxes tyres, OMP Corsica Superleggero steering wheel, OMP First-R bucket seats, as well as the tow hooks for the front and rear.

The Vios Challenge in Malaysia is developed along similar lines to the Toyota One Make Race established in Thailand and the Philippines. The race formula has become a runaway success in these countries, where fans come to catch the excitement on track on race weekends and to soak in the carnival-like atmosphere surrounding the event.

“The Vios Challenge provides the ideal platform to elevate the sporty image of the Toyota Vios as well as to create fresh interest in the sport. The sporty, fun and vibrant character of the Vios has been understated at times and in line with our ‘All About The Drive’ campaign, we believe that the Vios Challenge will be able to effectively help us demonstrate these characteristics, especially to younger Malaysians,” said UMW Toyota president Ravindran Kurusamy at the launch of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival.

He added that the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival weekends would be like a carnival-like weekend of entertainment, games, food and other fun activities.

Meanwhile, UMW Toyota deputy chairman Akio Takeyama said “Motor racing has been an integral part of Toyota’s DNA since its inception. Our success in the various disciplines of motorsport means we have been able to develop better products and technologies for our customers and our future”.

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