The 2019 Road To Le Mans may be over, but it will forever be etched in the minds of an all Malaysian team that took part in this year’s chapter of the legendary race.
Viper Niza Racing made history recently when it became the first all-Malaysian team to take part in the legendary race. CLICK HERE to read more about the team and their step into one of the biggest races in the world.
The team boasts some very experienced Malaysian technicians and race engineers and features former Petronas race driver Dominic Ang and Tech entrepreneur Douglas Khoo as drivers.
You may not have heard about the team, but they managed to not only finish the race, but put in some decent performance as well. But it did not come easy.
To do well at a sprint race takes more than just skill and preparation. It takes loads and loads of luck as well. You can be the most prepared team in the world with a space age budget, but if someone knocks you out at the final lap, then that would be that.
Free Practice 1 was a bittersweet event for the team as it got red flagged just a lap and a half into the session. Dominic was behind the wheel but decided to head back to the pits to hand the car over to Douglas. It was all about learning the circuit during FP1.
FP2 was the next day and also included two qualifying sessions, one each per driver, as well as Race 1.
The team took full advantage of FP2 and managed to improve lap times from the previous day. In fact, Dominic took the car up to 27th position at one point.
Douglas took over next and was well into his fastest lap when he got hit from behind and ended up in the gravel trap. The team ended up qualifying in 44th place.
Race 1 though was off to a dream start with Dominic driving aggressively, taking the team as high up as 19th place. But a slow puncture on the left wheel forced the team down to 38th place, and that is where Race 1 ended.
Race 2 began under cloudy conditions, and this time it was Douglas who took the wheel first. But the team suffered from a string of yellow flags and slow zones, which meant both drivers were not able to string together a sustainable charge. Yet, despite the odds stacked against them, the team finished in 29th place, up nine places from where they had qualified.
“We had a fantastic race at this year’s Road to Le Mans. Of course, the results were not ideal but we did better than where we started so that is always encouraging. I think Dominic drove brilliantly and I enjoyed my drive as well, I never had to concentrate so hard in a race before. Charging down the Mulsanne straight at just below 300km/h without the time to even blink, it was brilliant. But ultimately it is everyone’s teamwork that brought us the results and I am extremely grateful for that. We look forward to racing in Asia again, and are open to future possibilities to race at the Road to Le Mans again,” said Douglas Khoo who is also the Team Principal.
Speaking of the race, Dominic Ang said he was glad to have opportunity to drive at Le Mans, “I am grateful to Douglas for the opportunity. It is a dream come true and I can’t have enough of it.”