KUALA LUMPUR: Buoyed by its recent class win in the TCR SPA500 24-Hour endurance race in Belgium, Viper Niza Racing Team will spearhead Malaysia’s charge in the inaugural WTCR World Touring Car Race of Malaysia from Dec 13-15 at the Sepang International Circuit.
The team will be led by five-year touring car veteran Douglas Khoo, one of three Malaysian wildcards competing in the event, who will be piloting a Seat Leon Cupra TCR.
“Being in the company of the world’s best touring car drivers and teams, and racing on home ground at Sepang, is certainly an explosive way to make our debut in the WTCR World Touring Car series. It’s both very exciting and an honor,” said Khoo who is also Viper Niza Racing Team owner.
“We’ve not underlined any specific expectations, but the recent class win at the TCR SPA500 24-Hour endurance race in Belgium has certainly placed a little bit of international spotlight on us as far as the other teams in the paddock are concerned. Endurance racing however, is a world of difference from the WTCR’s fast-paced 9 to 12 laps of racing over the 3 race-weekend in Sepang and we’re preparing for nothing short of door-to-door action all the way to the finish.
”With all three races taking place within hours of one another on Sunday (3pm, 6pm and 8pm), we’ll certainly keep our emotions in check and focus on bringing the car across the finish one race at a time, hopefully fighting as high up as for a top 10 position.”
Khoo’s racing background includes competing in the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 TCR Asia Series; the 2015 and 2016 TCR International Series; the 2016 and 2017 TCR Thailand Series; the 2019 TCR Asia International Series; the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Asian Le Mans Series; the 2017 and 2019 Blancpain GT Series; the 2019 Michelin Le Mans Cup and the 2015 and 2016 Sepang 12-Hour Endurance Race.
The WTCR World Touring Car Race of Malaysia will bring together 30 of the world’s best touring car drivers who include touring car legends and greats the likes of Yvan Muller, Gabriele Tarquini, Tom Coronel, Robb Huff, Augusto Fafrus, Esteban Guerrieri, Andy Priaulx and Tiago Monteiro, representing some seven manufacturers: Hyundai, Seat, Lynk & Co, Audi, Volkswagen, Honda and Alfa Romeo.
Steered by a completely all-Malaysian outfit including race engineers and mechanics, Viper Niza Racing Team Manager Niko Ode Prayitno said the team intends to convert every inch of data acquired racing at Sepang over the years into an advantage.
“With a three-sprint race format, you can be assured of a very close and competitive race from start to finish. We have home advantage by virtue of having put in the most number of laps at Sepang and we intend to make the most of this opportunity, bearing in mind of course that we are driving against an experienced and accomplished grid of drivers and teams who are known to adapt very quickly to new circuits.
“The erratic Malaysian weather however, might also play a decisive role considering we are now right in the middle of the Monsoon season,” said Niko.