Toyota dominates Sepang 1000KM with 1-2 finish, three cars in top five

Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia bagged a historic 1-2 victory in the prestigious Sepang 1000KM (S1K) endurance race, with a dominant performance across the entire weekend. In what is only its second year participating in the race as a factory team, three Toyota entries finished top five in the overall classifications as well as the top-flight Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) Class, after a gruelling nine-hour, 181 laps race.

Out of a total of 77 entries, the Toyota Vios #37, driven by Gazoo Racing Malaysia ambassador Tengku Djan Ley and reigning Vios Challenge Sporting Class champion Naquib Azlan, crossed the finish line 6.2 seconds ahead of their nearest rival, Wing Hin Motorsport’s #39 Yaris piloted by Hayden Haikal and Jwan Hii.

Coming in third place was Hi Rev Dream Chaser’s Mitchell Cheah and Brendan Paul Anthony, piloting the #100 Suzuki Swift, while in fourth position was the #38 Wing Hin Motorsports Yaris driven by Boy Wong and Dannies Ng. R Engineering HMRT’s Honda City, Driven by Lee Wee Sing and Leon Khoo Beng Koon, rounds up the top five.

“2021 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,” said UMW Toyota Motor President, Ravindran K.

“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.”

Ravindran added that the Vios has now firmly established itself as a competitive model on the track, but more importantly, the brand’s involvement in Malaysian motorsports has also contributed to helping uncover and groom many new young driving talents.

Most notably, Naquib Azlan who started his career as a sim racer, went through the Toyota Gazoo Malaysia’s Young Talent Development Programme to transition into saloon car racing. He won the Toyota Vios Challenge Rookie Class in 2021 and moved on to win the overall Sporting Class this year. Now, he’s clinched the S1K title on his very first try.

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“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,” said Naquib.

“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.”

Eight drivers in the top five finishers of the Sepang 1000KM this year were also regular participants of the Vios Challenge series.

As for the Standard Production (SP2) Class entry, Toyota GR Malaysia’s entry led by a trio of young drivers consisting of the 2022 Vios Challenge Rookie champion Nabil Azlan, Muizzudin Musyaffa, and Muhammad Hamdany, finished 11th in their first ever S1K race. They originally qualified on pole position, but dropped back due to a troubled start.

This year’s S1K also saw the second running of the Gazoo Racing Vios Enduro Cup Class, with 14 entries racing exclusively with the Toyota Vios Challenge cars. The father and son team of Al Farouk and Abdul Miqail driving for 23 Motors stormed to victory, ahead of teammates Ady Rahimy and Amir Husin Mubarak, while in third place was Carroof Motorsport’s quartet of Mirza Syahmi Mahzan, Aiman Haziq, Khair Nur Adi, and Khair Nur Adli.

The 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.

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