The fourth season of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival, set to kick off in January 2021, will see the Vios Challenge grow to include more celebrity drivers, plus the addition of a new Rookie Class for young drivers.
There will also be a new format with three race series – Toyota Vios Challenge, GR Vios Sprint Cup, and GR Vios Enduro Cup. A total of 11 races will take place throughout the year, with the combined prize money amounting to RM420,000.
Anchoring the TGR Festival is none other than the popular Toyota Vios Challenge. The one-make race will feature three rounds and six races, while the GR Vios Sprint Cup will see two rounds and four races being held. The GR Enduro Cup, meanwhile, will be run in conjunction with the Sepang 1000km Endurance Race.
As reported earlier, the Vios Challenge will see newcomers actor Zizan Razak, singer/songwriter Talitha Tan, and TV personality Ahirene Ahirudin go up against actor Shukri Yahaya, actress Janna Nick, presenter Nabil Ahmad and singers Wany Hasrita, Nabila Razali and Khai Bahar in the Promotional Class category.
The new Rookie Class will see six budding graduates of the Gazoo Racing Young Talent Development Programme butt heads in an actual race car for their very first time. Prior to this, the young drivers were either racing on go-karts or simulators. They are; Mika Hakimi, 17, Naquib Azlan, 20, Amer Harris, 17, Jwan Hii, 18, Putera Adam, 14, and Troy Eimann, 16.
On a more serious note, there are at least 18 confirmed drivers in the Sporting Class. Names to look out for include last season’s runner-up and Dream Chaser driver Bradley Benedict Anthony, Season 3’s second runner-up haji Sutan Mustaffa, as well as Kenneth Koh, Adam Khalid, Dato Dr Ken Foo, Lim Chun Beng and fellow automotive journalist Tom Goh.
The most competitive Super Sporting Class will once again welcome two-time Vios Challenge champion Tengku Djan Ley to defend his title. Season 3’s Sporting Class champion and youngest winner of the Vios Challenge, 16-year-old Hayden Haikal has also been promoted into the Super Sporting Class.
Other notable drivers in this category include Season 2 champion Boy Wong, Season 3 runner-up Mark Darwin and second runner-up Freddie Ang, as well as William Ho, Kenny Lee, Keifli Othman, Syafiq Ali and former Sporting Class champion Brendan Paul Anthony.
Joining the racing calendar for the first time are the GR Vios Sprint Cup and GR Enduro Cup. The Vios Sprint Cup comprises two rounds for a total of four races, and will be held in conjunction with the Malaysia Championship Series.
Both races, which will take place at the Sepang International Circuit, will use the same vehicles in the Vios Challenge. It’s an open category, but drivers competing in the Vios Challenge are not compelled to participate in either one. The teams in the Sporting and Super Sporting class are also free to field new drivers for both events. The results of the Vios Sprint and Enduro Cup races will not affect the overall point standings in the Vios Challenge series.
UMW Toyota deputy chairman and Gazoo Racing Malaysia chief motorsports officer, Akio Takeyama said: “Three individual racing events will be held to spearhead the Gazoo Racing presence in Malaysian motorsports.”
“As you know, Gazoo Racing is the umbrella for all of Toyota’s motor-racing activities globally, and after three seasons of successfully organising the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival, 2021 will cement an even greater commitment from Toyota to contribute to the development of motorsports in Malaysia,” he added.
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