Toyotas Dominant In 2022 Sepang 1000KM Endurance Race

A 1-2 finish and 3 Toyotas in overall 5 positions

After coming so close to winning in 2021, the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Malaysia Team returned this year to take a historic 1-2 victory in the 9-hour race at the Sepang International Circuit. Three Toyotas finished in the top 5 overall positions, and in the Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) Class in only Toyota’s second year participating in the annual event.

A record total of 77 cars lined up on the grid for the 14th edition of the Sepang 1000KM event (S1K) this year. The race had the MTC and SP2 Classes for cars below 1600 cc and incorporated the GAZOO Racing Vios Enduro Cup (exclusively for the Toyota Vios cars competing in the Vios Challenge race series).

Crewed by GAZOO Racing Malaysia ambassador Tengku Djan Ley and reigning Vios Challenge Sporting Class champion Naquib Azlan, the team’s #37 Vios took the chequered flag after 181 laps. The car had started from pole position and crossed the finish line 6.2 seconds ahead of the nearest rival – the #39 Yaris of Hayden Haikal and Jwan Hii for Wing Hin Motorsports (a UMW Toyota Motor  dealer).

Third place went to another Vios with Hi Rev Dream Chaser team’s Mitchell Cheah and Brendan Paul Anthony, while in fourth position was the #38 Wing Hin Motorsports Yaris driven by the pair of Boy Wong and Dannies Ng both cars finishing a lap down. Rounding up the top 5 positions and finishing 4 laps less from the winning Vios was R Engineering HMRT’s Lee Wee Sing and Leon Khoo Beng Koon in a Honda City.

Starting from pole position, Naquib was behind the wheel of the #37 Vios and led into the first lap of the race before pacing in third position after the first hour of racing. A slightly dislodged rear bumper due to contact on the track brought the car into the pits earlier than planned and cost him several minutes in repair. With team mate Tengku Djan taking over driving duties going into the second hour and pushing hard, the #37 car climbed one position to second place.

Toyota’s prowess on the track was further demonstrated by having all 3 of its cars consistently running in the top 5 positions. The second hour of racing onwards was dominated by the pair of Hayden Haikal and Jwan Hii who led the race in the #39 Yaris, while team mates Boy Wong and Dannies Ng in the #38 Yaris rounded up the top three positions. All the 4 drivers have been regular contenders in the Vios Challenge race series which has run for 5 seasons.

With 58 laps to go after 6 long hours of racing, the #37 Vios moved into the lead with a 1-lap advantage over Hayden and Hii, while the #38 Yaris of Wong and Ng trailed 58 seconds adrift in fourth position just behind the Hi Rev Dream Chaser’s Mitchell Cheah. The Yaris – entering the endurance race for the second year – had been running as high as third where it stayed for more than an hour but with 13 laps to go, Hi Rev Dream Chaser’s Cheah reclaimed that position.

Toyota GAZOO Racing Malaysia’s Standard Production (SP2) Class entry led by Vios Challenge  Rookies Nabil Azlan (who is also this year’s Rookie champion), Muizzuddin Musyaffa and Muhammad Hamdany meanwhile, endured a troubled start despite qualifying on pole position. The trio of young drivers finished 11th in their first ever S1K race.

In the GAZOO Racing Vios Enduro Cup Class, the father and son team of Al Farouk and Abdul Miqail driving for 23 Motors raced to victory ahead of team mates Ady Rahimy and Amir Husin Mubarak, while in third was Carroof Motorsport’s quartet of Mirza Syahmi Mahzan, Aiman Haziq and Khair Nur Adi and Khair Nur Adli.

“2021 was all about learning and gaining track time to develop both the Vios and Yaris to take on the prestigious Sepang 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. 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,” said UMW Toyota Motor President, Ravindran K.

“From its standard production model form competing in 5 seasons of the Vios Challenge race series to its debut in the Vios Sprint Cup which is a 1-hour race and now winning a 9-hour endurance race, the Vios has, against all odds, firmly established itself as a competitive model on the track,” said Mr. Ravindran.

He added that Toyota’s involvement in Malaysian motorsports has more importantly contributed to helping uncover and groom many new young driving talents; “It’s about giving back to the community and in our case, it means providing potential young Malaysian talent with the right platform and the opportunities to grow as competitive drivers. This has been consistent throughout GAZOO Racing Malaysia’s program over the past 5 years which began with affordable participation in the Vios Challenge, the introduction of a Young Talent Development Program, and establishing a Rookie Class of racing in the Vios Challenge to promoting young drivers up the motorsports ladder to drive in more competitive machines and classes. I also want to thank our partners and sponsors for playing an instrumental part in the company’s racing achievements,” he said.

‘King’ Perodua Myvi, entered by JV Motorsport, made its first-ever appearance in the Sepang 1000Km race.

This year’s event saw 47 entries from Singapore, followed by 7 from Japan and Taipei, 6 from Indonesia, 4 from Hongkong, 2 from Vietnam and India as well as entries from the Middle East. The youngest driver was 16-year old Nurul Auni Nasharuddin from Privateer team #9 in the Vios Cup category, while the oldest was Nasharuddin, 61 years old, also from the same team.

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