Team Proton R3 (R3) capped a successful 2019 season yesterday by winning the Sepang 1000km (S1K) race for a third consecutive time. The impressive achievement was led by Mitchell Cheah and Fariqe Hairuman in the latest Proton Iriz which dominated the proceedings in a tough 9-hour race. There was double joy for the team as the 2019 Proton Saga driven by Syafiq Ali and Admi Shahrul crossed the finish line in second place.
Most successful manufacturer in S1K
With a third consecutive and fifth overall S1K victory, Proton has stretched its lead as the most successful manufacturer in the history of the event. It not only reflects on the capabilities of the cars but also the skill, professionalism and teamwork of R3, arguably the leading racing team in Malaysia.
“Being successful in motor racing requires a combination of factors. A manufacturer, for instance, would firstly need the correct models in its range that would be suitable for the job. Even if a suitable model is available, it is difficult to achieve success as the car needs to be developed while the skills of the racing team, from the technicians to the drivers, needs to be finely honed. This requires an investment in time and money and Proton’s success in motorsports is proof our investment in R3, our in-house racing division, is a wise one,” said Dr. Li Chunrong, CEO of Proton.
Lady drivers impress too
There were three Team Proton R3 entrants for the S1K this year with the third car crewed by an all-female driving team. Nurul Husna and Faye Kusairi were selected from the MSF-R3 Lady Drivers Search that gave aspiring female racers a chance to compete in the S1K race. The lead driver for the team was Leona Chin, Malaysia’s fastest female racer.
A technical issue during qualifying meant the team’s 2019 Proton Saga started the race from 26th on the grid. Despite the early setback, the ladies showed amazing skill and fighting spirit as they carved their way up to seventh overall and first among all lady drivers by the end of the race.
“Our lady drivers performed very well and we are proud of their achievement. By finishing seventh, they have proven their capability to compete in the male dominated arena of motorsports and Proton are proud to have given Malaysian women an opportunity to showcase their talents,” said Dr. Li.
“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”
The marketing phrase refers to an age-old ethos for car manufacturers who compete in motorsports. By being successful on the track, their products gain an image boost thus helping to improve their performance in the showroom. Additionally, owners also get to feel a sense of pride to be driving a car from the winning brand – especially if it is the same model.
“By winning the S1K for the fifth time in 11 editions, Proton has proven its mastery of the event. A 1,000-km race requires speed as well as reliability and our models have both. What we learn in the heat of competition we then engineer into our products to create better cars. The success of both the 2019 Iriz and 2019 Saga in motorsports helped boost the image of each model and as a result, Iriz sales have increased three-fold while the Saga has achieved over 35,000 bookings since its launch,” Dr. Li revealed.
Want to experience the performance of the latest Proton Iriz and Saga? Visit www.proton.com to locate a showroom near your for a test-drive.