The Toyota Gazoo Racing Season 3 was unfortunately disrupted by the Movement Control Order. Originally planned as an eight-race series over four rounds, the fourth and final round at the Sepang International Circuit in April had to be cancelled for safety reasons, in accordance to MCO guidelines. With the last race of the season cancelled, Malaysia’s motorsports governing body, the Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM), in consultation with UMW Toyota, determined that having completed 75% of the series in Season 3 fulfilled all criteria in naming the overall season champions. This was also consistent with best practices of other international motor-racing events and in adherence to provisions underlined by the technical and sporting regulations of the series.
Season 3 had kicked off in Kuala Terengganu on 5 – 7 September 2019 and subsequently moved on to Bandar Malaysia on 9 – 10 November, and Batu Kawan in Penang on 14 – 16 February 2020. This racing series offered more than RM500,000 in prizes and is the most lucrative in Malaysia.
With the winners decided, prize monies amounting to RM360,000 were presented to the overall champions of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Season 3. TGR Season 3 saw Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel being crowned overall champion of the Super Sporting class for professional drivers, his second successive title; and 16-year-old Hayden Haikal, the youngest-ever competitor in the series, as the overall champion in the Sporting class for amateur drivers. Both racers won the grand prize of RM100,000.
Meanwhile, Mark Darwin of Laser Motor Racing and Freddie Ang of Telagamas Toyota finished the series in second and third places respectively in the Super Sporting Class, bagging themselves RM50,000 and RM30,000 respectivley for their efforts. In Sporting Class, another teenager, 18-year-old Bradley Benedict Anthony, drove to a sterling debut in the series to finish ahead of third place winner Haji Sutan Mustaffa, both also winning RM50,000 and RM30,000 respectively.
In the Promotional Class for celebrity racers, musician and TV personality Shawn Lee clinched three race wins over the season and was clearly the most dominant driver on the grid. This is also his second ever overall championship in three seasons of competition. Lee finished ahead of actor Shukri Yahaya and TV personality Nabil Ahmad who came in third overall. No prize monies are offered in the Promotional Class.
The prizes and trophies were presented by UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd Deputy Chairman and Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia Chief Motorsports Officer Akio Takeyama at the company’s headquarters in Shah Alam.
Toyota Gazoo Racing via the Toyota Vios Challenge is open to individuals, teams and Toyota dealers, and offer competitors a level playing field by competing in identical race-prepared 1.5L Toyota Vios cars.
“As a one-make series, the Toyota Vios Challenge is built on the foundation of providing competitors with a level playing field with emphasis on driving skills and experience. This series is not only engineered to make motor-racing racing more affordable for individuals and teams, but to make the races very closely contested for the benefit of spectators. The six races held in Season 3 were no exception, and despite the series being abruptly cut short (due to the pandemic), I would like to congratulate every single driver who demonstrated a high level of competitiveness, racing skills and sportsmanship,” said Takeyama.
Concluding three successive seasons, UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd’s President Ravindran K. said the Toyota Gazoo Racing via the Toyota Vios Challenge remains committed to underlining the company’s three key objectives:
- to contribute towards elevating Malaysian motorsports with the introduction of an affordable and competitive one-make series;
- bringing motorsports to the masses by pioneering the concept of racing on street circuits;
- and successfully demonstrating the performance, reliability and durability of its vehicle to perform under extreme conditions.
“The spirit that is embodied in Gazoo Racing and the Toyota brand is all about advancing the potential of both vehicles and people. It is not only confined to building better products and shaping the strength, capability and creativity of our workforce, but as our series has proven, very much about developing new, young and talented drivers as well as cultivating greater public appreciation and interest in motor-racing,” he said.
With the new normal post-MCO, plans for TGR Season 4 are in the works and promises to be more thrilling, exciting and nerve-racking. Takeyama added, “We will be back bigger than before.”