Touring car racing has been a mainstay at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) with the running of the Malaysian Championship Series (MCS). However, SIC acknowledges the lack of local talent that have made it through higher levels of racing in Asia, including in the TCR Asia series. Realising this, SIC under their talent development programme, sought to close the gap with the vision to one day put a Malaysian in the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR).

Under the new initiative, SIC will organise a shoot-out to select the best driver to be put in the racing seat for the TCR Asia Series 2018 which will begin on March 30 at the circuit. The shoot-out will be between 5 talented individuals who have carved their names in the local racing scene.

They are Mitchell Cheah (Touring Production winner in the MCS 2017), Man Siew Chean (Malaysian Touring Car winner), Calvin Wong (third in the Touring Production), Mark Darwin (fifth in Touring Production) and Alif Hamdan (seventh in Touring Production). These drivers will be assessed both on and off the track with evaluation of their physical fitness and presentation skills in addition to a 1-day test in a TCR car where their speed, consistency, technical feedback and understanding will be judged. The shoot-out will be held on January 17/18. Former Formula 1 driver Alex Yoong and Martin Quick of Eurasia Motorsport will be the judges.

SIC Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Razlan Razali said the new initiative is another step forward in finding and developing local talent to compete with the world’s best.

“I see this is a step that we should take as we have the talent pool in this segment competing in the Malaysian Championship Series. What we want now it to take it a step further into the Asian level,” he said.

“After which, racing at the world level is imminent as we seek to put our talents side by side with the world’s best – at least by 2019. But as of now, we will take the first step to realise our dreams,” he added.

[Chips Yap]

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