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4/4/2017

Toyota Vios Challenge One-Make Race announced by UMW Toyota Motor
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Toyota is getting back into being directly involved in motorsports in Malaysia with the Toyota Vios Challenge One-Make Race which will start in August 2017 and run until the first quarter of 2018. Unlike one-make races that were run in earlier years which were supporting events for a bigger event like a GP, the Vios Challenge is a stand-alone event promoted by UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) in collaboration with Toyota GAZOO Racing and it is to be the highlight of the TGR Racing Festival that will be on at the same time as each of the four rounds of the series.

Announcing the Vios Challenge and TGR Racing Festival, Ravindran Kurusamy, President of UMWT, explained that the event will provide an ideal platform to elevate the sporty image of the Vios, the company’s best-selling model.

“The sporty, fun and vibrant character of the Toyota Vios has been understated at times and in line with our ‘All About The Drive’ campaign, we believe the Vios Challenge will be able to effectively help us demonstrate these characteristics, especially to younger Malaysians,” he said.

Adding to what Mr. Ravindran said, Deputy Chairman of UMWT Akio Takeyama said that motor racing is an integral part of Toyota’s DNA. He said the brand’s success in various forms of motorsports has been contributing to the development of better products and technologies for customers.

While one-make races are for specific models and anyone with such a model can enter the race, the Vios Challenge is different in that the cars will be identical in specifications and preparation. They won’t be offered free and will cost RM90,000 each. The extra cost gets the buyer a package that includes TRD performance parts (exhaust system, brake pads, suspension system, clutch with LSD and a bodykit) as well as a roll-cage, rims and tyres. Additionally, the buyer will get a FIA-approved racing suit and 6 sessions of racing school training which is compulsory for novice drivers and others who have never raced before.

There is no modification to the 1.5-litre Dual VVT-i engine that is standard for the Vios (J variant with manual transmission). However, the exhaust system is said to boost power output by about 10%. As all the cars will be identical in power output and modifications, it will be a true challenge of driver skill.

Incidentally, if you’re thinking of buying the cars for road use, the JPJ does not allow cars with roll-cages in them to be registered. So these cars are strictly for racing but if you want a sporty looking Vios, there’s always the TRD Sportivo variant available from any authorised Toyota showroom.

Wing Hin Motorsports has been commissioned to install the parts and test each car before it is sold. The cars can be purchased by anyone although a number of Toyota dealers have indicated they will participate as dealer teams. Professional teams might also want to participate and to add some glamour, UMWT is inviting 8 local celebrities (which include a number of females) to take part as well.

One-make races in the past have often seen some participants trying to exploit loopholes in the regulations or putting in parts that are not permissible, and hoping they don’t get caught. In racing, everyone wants to win so there will be some who will try to gain an unfair advantage. However, the organisers of the Vios Challenge say that there will be strict management and scrutineering before and after the race to prevent this. The cars will also have their engine outputs checked on a dyno after each race and if the variance is beyond a specified amount, then the car will be examined more thoroughly. Hopefully, such things don’t occur and spoil the series.

Adding to the excitement will be the fact that the races will be run on street circuits in Kuala Lumpur (two rounds), Penang and Johor. The locations of the circuits haven’t been announced yet but the organisers gave assurance that there will be all the required safety measures as specified by the FIA for street circuits, and the event will be monitored by the AAM, which is the motorsports authority for Malaysia.

The exact amount being spent on the Vios Challenge is not being revealed other than that it is ‘many millions of ringgit’. And this is not a one-year thing as UMWT expects to make it an annual championship, just like similar events that have been held in the Philippines and Thailand for some years. And of course, there will be trophies and other prizes for each round and for the championship winners.

As mentioned earlier, the Vios Challenge will be part of the TGR Racing Festival which will have a carnival-like atmosphere. It will be like the Toyota WOW events which had activities for all the family as well as test-drives of the latest Toyota models. There are likely to be special money-saving offers too so don’t miss the events if you are planning on buying a new car this year.

To get updates on the Toyota Vios Challenge, visit toyotagazooracingmalaysia.com.my and if you want to buy one of the racing cars, click here to register your interest.

To locate a showroom to view or test-drive the Vios or other Toyota models in Malaysia, visit www.toyota.com.my.