Category: Domestic Motorsports News

Local female driver makes International race debut in 2020 GT World Challenge Asia Series

Malaysia’s Motorsport Athlete and best known local female race driver Leona Chin is making a historic debut in the GT World Challenge Asia Series in 2020. This is Leona’s first appearance in a sanctioned International motorsport event. The Reigning Malaysian Motorsport Athlete will drive for the Legacy Racing Team, alongside one of the country’s known motorsports personality Tengku Djan Ley.

Malaysian-bred Legacy Racing Team featuring Leona and Djan fields the amazing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT World Challenge 2020.  The team’s technical aspects is supported by Tedco Racing, a Malaysian-bred organization known in domestic motorsport scene.  

Leona has been involved in local motorsports scene since her breakthrough in 2006 as a Red Bull Rookie. Her earlier exploits pitted her as an aspiring female drifter, hence the title Malaysia’s Drift Queen, to this day. As drifting competitions fizzled out at the turn of 2010s, she switched to grassroot racing to pursue her goals as a female racer in domesticated series. Between 2012 – 2016 Leona pursued her motorsport endeavors not only locally but across borders as she participated in Mini Challenge Asia Series and Renault Clio Cup China. She has made plenty of appearances for supercar and auto brands, as well as  a number of grassroot events. A couple of years ago, she became an ambassador of Mitsubishi Malaysia and proved that a pick up could drift as well. She returned to local motorsports last year where she pariticpated in the Malaysian Championship Series (MCS), finishing runner-up. Naional carmakers Proton was  impressed by her performance during the season and appointed her a factory driver for the last few races of the season.  

Now, Leona sets her goals even higher as she prepares for her debut season in the GT World Challenge Asia Series. “It’s always been a dream of mine to race in the GT championship! It’s my debut and I understand that it’s going to be a tough challenge especially on my first foray in a GT3 car. I’m very excited to face this challenge and hope to give my best to achieve some good results,” an excited Leona remarked.

Leona and her co-driver will face six rounds of pure adrenaline GT racing through some of Asia’s most revered tracks like the Sepang circuit, Shanghai circuit, Suzuka circuit, Fuji Speedway and more.

2020 GT World Challenge Asia calendar

Round 1 Sepang Circuit, Malaysia 28 – 29 March

Round 2 Chang International Circuit, Thailand 25 – 26 April

Round 3 Fuji Speedway, Japan 23  – 24 May

Round 4 Suzuka Circuit, Japan 20 – 21 June

Round 5 Shanghai Circuit, China 12 – 13 September

Round 6 Shanghai Circuit, China 17 – 18 October

Proton conquers Sepang 1K race; All-ladies team led by Leona Chin finished seventh

Braving torrential thunderstorms over the weekend, the aspiring local racers took part in another rendition of the Sepang 1000 kilometers race or short for Sepang 1k. As a feeder endurance racing competition to the previous Merdeka Millennium Endurance race (MME), the 1k race saw more participants due to relatively affordable entry fees.

National carmakers Proton has always been participating in domestic racing series to prove their cars’ worth. And since the 1k race features mostly local-ran feeder teams and drivers, there aren’t too much competition for Proton as a factory-backed squad. This proved especially evident in last Sunday’s 1k race where Team Proton R3 dominated the entire race for the third consecutive year. It was a fifth outright title for Proton, since the 1k race came into existence.

The brave souls who participated in the 1k race last weekend had to endure 181 laps. It ended with the Iriz of Fariqe Hairuman, former BTCC driver, and Mitchell Cheah winning the title, after 9 hours of non-stop racing. To add icing on the cake, the Sage of Admi Shahirul and Syafiq Ali took second place to complete a 1-2 finish. With the 1-2 finish, it’s obvious that until another factory-backed team came into the picture, the 1k race would be a continuous happy hunting ground for the National carmakers.

Nominated lady race drivers were also cast in to drive for Proton, this time around. The all-girl team was selected from the recent Lady Drivers Search program, featuring Malaysia’s Motorsport Athlete, Leona Chin. The girls’ team in the third Proton car comprised of Leona, Nurul Husna and Faye Kusairi. However, a technical issue during qualifying set their Saga car as a 26th starter on the grid. Despite the setback, the ladies showed amazing tenacity against the men and fighting spirit as they carved their way up to seventh overall and first among all lady drivers by the end of the race. Leona as the leader did her part to ensure a strong overall finish for Proton’s all-ladies squad.

Ladies, Are ya up for a challenge of driving a Race Car?

Join the Proton R3 Lady Search and Mentor programs

Ladies if you like to try out a new challenge, here’s one that might be of interest – the Team Proton R3 Lady Search and Mentor program. The program is initiated by the National carmakers to encourage more females to dabble in domestic-sanctioned racing. The selected all-girls team will compete in the S1K (1,000 kilometers) endurance race at Sepang Circuit in a Proton R3 racer. Furthermore, the selected teams are bound to participate in the domestic race series (Malaysia Speed Festival) by Proton.

The Lady search and mentor programs are in partnership with MSF, the largest grassroots motorsports event in the country. Both programs aim to develop motorsports at a grassroots level by leveraging on R3’s experience built up over years of competition.

The Proton R3 program has been around for 15 years and garnered quite a number of accolades including the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), Production WRC, the defunct Merdeka Millennium Endurance (MME) and Sepang 1000km (S1K). Now, the time is right to appease the girls to join the Lady Racers Search and incumbents to partake in the  MSF-R3 Mentor Program. The aim is simple, to evoke aspiring racers and teams to participate in the programs with an opportunity to  elevate the incumbents’ performance and eventual success at national level events. It is also an opportunity to discover talented lady racers and nurture their careers, giving them a good head start in a male dominated scene.

Aspiring ladies into motorsports isn’t a new thing in this country as many top names in the game have ventured in it. A famous domestic lady racer, Leona Chin, motorsport athlete and girl drifter, came from such a program in the past, by Red Bull Drivers search..

Proton R3’s Lady seatch and Mentor programs

From an initial pool of participants, three will be offered an opportunity to develop as racing drivers and participate in the 2019 edition of the S1K race, driving a Team Proton R3 prepared car. Selections will be based on how contestants perform in a series of on and off-track activities and will include being judged on criteria such as discipline, team work and commitment aside from their skill behind the wheel.

As for the mentor program, selected drivers and teams competing in the MSF SuperTurismo races using Proton vehicles will be supported by Team Proton R3 personnel for the remaining three events this year. Though each team will be independently run managed, R3 will provide technical and set-up know-how before and during the race, with the specific aim to improve their performance and inculcate best industry practices

Incumbents of the Proton R3 Lady Search and Mentor programs

MSF-R3 Racers Mentor Program:

Mohd Hafiz Saad #248

Nik Shahrul Fadli Nik Mansor #141

Alban Raymond De Sauza #16

Muhammad Faishal Othman #180

Md. Shah Hashim #387

Lady Drivers Search:

Ng Aik Sha

Samanda Lee

Nurul Husna Nasharuddin

Nursharina Nor Ramlle

Dayangku Faratiwan Adnil

Rozana Rahmat

Umi Nasirah Sulaiman

Zaidah Mohd Ishak

Nor Azirah Mohd Azhar

Proton captures dominant wins at 2019 MCS Round 3

National car makers Proton has been a regular participant this season in the local motorsports series, the Malaysian Championship Series (MCS). As the only factory-backed squad, they obviously are head over heels over the rest of the field.

In the latest Round 3 at Sepang last weekend, Proton’s Team R3 clinched two wins in both races to extend their series advantage. Not only did they win, but Proton captured 1-2-3 in race two to show who’s ‘Boss’ on a familiar circuit. Each MCS race lasts about an hour, so it really put man and machine into the toughest challenge of domestic motorsports. Cars are pushed to the limits, while the drivers have to ensure they last the trials of an hour’s worth of laps.

Proton sent three R3 cars to the MCS field; a Suprima S with Mitchell Cheah, who  qualified on pole in the M-Production class, alongside an Iriz and a Saga with pilots Fariqe Hairuman/Syafiq Ali and James. The Iriz and Saga drivers managed fourth and fifth on the starting grid. The Suprima S took an outright win in race one.  The remaining two Proton cars were fourth and fifth.

In the second race, the order followed the finishing positions from race one. The Protons had strong start positions in first, fourth and fifth. Off the starting blocks, the Protons were in the top three, with the Suprima S leading the Iriz and Saga. The rest of the field tried to play catch up. The Iriz eventually led the race with the Suprima S second and the Saga third. The lead would stand and Proton secured a 1-2-3 finish for the first time in the MCS. The win pushes up Proton drivers (Hairuman/ Ali) to second overall in the drivers standings of the M-Production category.

Proton in Motorsports

The Proton R3 badge is no stranger in motorsports, over the past 15 years. Proton was a force to be reckoned with in the MME (Merdeka Millennium Endurance) back in 2005 and 2006. They have secured four outright wins in the S1K (Sepang 1000km) endurance in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2018.

.Although the drivers get most of the glory, motor racing is a team sport with success dependent on the hard work of multiple key partners and people to ensure a positive result. The team utilizes all its assets, including efficient pit stops and painstaking teamwork by the crew to pull off its best results. R3 engineers and team personnel spend countless hours to build a winning race car that reflects the technical capabilities and professionalism of everyone involved. They also work hand-in-hand with Proton’s engineers to ensure that lessons learned on the track are communicated to the team responsible for the road cars.

Malaysia’s Motorsport Athlete shines bright at 2019 Asia GT Festival

At the recent Asia GT Festival 2019 15 – 17 March, Malaysan Motorsport Athlete Leona Chin was in the thick of the action at the Sepang International Circuit. In her Silver Evolution 7, she muscled her way to a third place finish against a stiff Super Street competition. She also participated in the less-fancied Saga Cup where she topped the Ladies category.

Leona, who was recently awarded the country’s Most Inspiring Female Motorsports Athlete, proved once again that she could stand up to the best on the grid, especially the male counterparts.

Despite an  electrical issue on her Silver Samurai, teddy bear-cladded Evo7, Leona took a podium spot in race 2 thanks to some slick work by her team mechanics.

All in all, Leona’s starting weekend of racing was a decent warm-up for the most sought-after female racer in the country. A couple of podium finishes and an overall third place in the rankings weren’t bad at all for a start.

Up next, Leona aims to participate in the Malaysian Championship Series (MCS) for a full season. The MCS features 10 races over a span of five months. The MCS first round starts in April, with each round featuring two races. :Leona’s race interests aren’t just for domestic events, but International as well. She is linked to the China GT series and Lamborghini Super Trofeo. Her next step is to secure sponsors for her race exploits and bring her sponsors to the wonderful world of motorsports, The MCS costs RM200,000 for the season, while the China GT and Lamborghini ST cost RM300,000 for a race weekend.

Leona’s determination and grit shine bright on the racetracks, which could in turn benefit her sponsors in many ways. Over the years, she has developed into quite a popular ambassador or spokesperson for renowned brands such as; Mitsubishi Motors, Petron, GoPro and more.  If you’re not part of the Leona bandwagon, then we suggest you search for her on the social media or youtube, or better yet visit www.leonachin.com

Vios one-make Series ends on a high note

  The first-ever Vios Challenge, one-make Series, ended on a high note, over the weekend. Initiated by UMW Toyota Motor, the Vios one-make series is a stepping stone for domestic aspiring racers.

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2018 TCR Asia Series kicks off at Sepang

  Fourth season of the TCR Asia Series is underway at the Malaysian track of Sepang International Circuit, over the weekend. The Malaysian round features two rounds of a ten round season. Apart from Malaysia, the circus travels to Thailand, South Korea and China.

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Vios Sports Edition up for grabs at Toyota Racing Festival weekend

  Toyota Racing Festival makes it way to Medini City in Iskandar Puteri in the southern State of Johor. this weekend, and brings with it a totally immersing experience with non-stop motor racing action, A-list celebrity activities and impressive prizes including a brand new Toyota Vios Sports Edition that will be presented to a lucky visitor.

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Vios Challenge one-make series enters 3rd round

  The current active one-make Series, the Vios Challenge embarks on the second half of the season, heading to the southern State of Johor for round three.

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Zen Low is first Malaysian to pilot the new Ferrari 488 in 2017 Ferrari Challenge Series

  The distinct roars of Ferrari supercars filled the Sepang International Circuit over the weekend, as they geared up for Round 5 of the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific 2017. Naza Aylezo Team formally introduced driver Zen Low as the sole Malaysian participating in the race series.

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