In this year’s Sepang 1000km endurance race held recently in Sepang F1 circuit in Malaysia, an unexpected car overcame the odds and won the 9 hours of gruesome endurance race involving passenger and sports car between 1600cc-1800cc. It was a Toyota Corolla Altis of team Type R Racing who came in slow and steady style, something which is quite essential in endurance racing, defeating a host of Proton Satria Neos, Suzuki Swifts, Toyota Celicas, Honda Jazz, Proton Inspira and so on.
Using their experience as champions in the 2009 edition and runners-up the following year, the trio of Lai Wee Sing, Soh Kee Koon, ‘Boy’ Wong Yew Choong demonstrated resilience in their Toyota Corolla Altis to finish impressively ahead of the 28 car field completing the 181-lap race with a time of 8 hours 48.06.567 minutes.
The strong favorites of the Proton Satria Neo from the Proton R3 racing team meanwhile faced setback as despite being the lead car and possibility the fastest car in the race, mechanical problems on the fifth hour brings end to their race.
Despite that, protest came from other competitors alleging that their Toyota did not meet the requirements of a 1.6-litre car. However, after officials conducted their investigation, it was said that Type R Racing had done the necessary permitted modifications to replace the 1.8-litre engine of the car with the required 1.6-litre engine. So how could Type R Racing changed a merely boring 1800cc saloon car into a 1600cc race winner is perhaps something we should wonder and be amazed to be honest. The Corolla was the champion of Class 2 which is for cars below 1.6cc
To complete Toyota’s glory, Class 1 which is for cars below 1.8L-1.6L and only has a mere 3 participation, was won by Lim Chun Beng/Vincent Ng in a Toyota Celica, finishing eight overall, 10 laps behind in a time of 8 hours 49:02.989. So if UMWT believes on the classic motorsport tagline “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday”, should we be able to see special edition Toyota Corolla Altis on sale in Malaysia soon?
The winner, The Toyota Corolla Altis from Type R racing!
It might not be the fastest car and possibly the dullest car to drive, but seeing this is an endurance race than a proper sprint trace, the Toyota Corolla Altis utilized well it’s strength in reliability and durability and with the adage “slow and steady wins the race” brought glory in the 2011 Sepang 1000km endurance race.
[IMAGES: Proton Motorsports]