The 14th edition of the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS), formerly known as the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) is set for a fiery start between Malaysia’s two leading racing outfits – Proton Motorsports and Tedco Racing as they resume the fierce rivalry at the opening round of the series on a perfect stage – the 2015 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix™ at the end of the month.
While no official announcements have been made on their drivers line-up so far, two-time Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) champion Proton Motorsports and defending champion Tedco Racing had flooded their Facebook pages with updates of their preparations – with both teams declaring they are ready to challenge for top honours this season.
“We are in Sepang for our 2nd day of testing (on 10 March). We cut short our session yesterday (Day One) to make some changes and everything is going well so far for today,” Proton Motorsports wrote on its Facebook page.
On their Facebook page, Tedco Sports wrote: “Pre-season MCS testing successfully completed. Some new cars and faces in the team for 2015. All set for Round 1 in 2 weeks for the F1 Support Race.”
Featuring the MTC and Touring Production categories, the MCS would be joined by the newly-launched TCR International Series as support races for the F1 event in Sepang this year. Hosting the second round of the new season, the 2015 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix™ would be held from 27 to 29 March. ?
Champions for the MTC class in 2012 and 2013, Proton Motorsports’ Syafiq Ali failed in their hattrick bid last year as Tedco Racing’s Malaysian-Indonesian partnership of Mark Darwin and Fitra Eri dominated the five-round championship to seal the crown with a round to spare.
Proton Motorsports, however, had their revenge when the team created a sensational 1-2 finish at the Sepang 1000 Kilometer (S1K) – an endurance version of the MCS battle and competed by almost every driver in the series’ MTC category.
Proton Motorsports’ iconic driver Tengku Djan Ley Tengku Mahaleel – a two-time winner of the 12-hour Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER) – took his first S1K crown, partnering Syafiq in a Proton Suprima S with his younger brother Tengku Ezan Ley and James Veerapan taking second place in a Proton Prevé. Both machines are eligible for the MCS for the MTC category.
Despite a promising start and leading the opening phase of the 1000km race, Tedco Racing encountered mechanical problems midway through the race and struggled to finish in 22nd place only managing 129 laps.
When contacted for comments, Syafiq confirmed that Proton Motorsports aimed to wrest back the title and that winning a third MTC crown has been made a priority for the team and for himself.
“However, I am not able to provide details of the testing as I was not involved. Neither was James. But I believe that performance-wise, it should be to S1K. I am really hopeful to have a fast car to regain the title,” said Syafiq, who may run solo again this year in the MSS.
In the Touring Production class, Team Wing Hing Motorsports made clear their intention of challenging two-time defending champion Damien Dielenberg and Tommy Lee and their Honda Integra DC5 by roping in Malaysia’s top touring car driver Boy Wong Yew Choong.
“It was a tough first year for us in 2014. Our car is down on power and we were struggling with grip to battle the high powered Hondas. But now, with changes on the tyre rules to semi slick, we hope to be able to make an improvement in 2015,” said team leader Kenny Lee, winner of the S1K in 2010.
With the team entering a pair of Toyota 86 machines, Kenny will be driving solo while Boy, multiple winner of the MCS, S1K and MMER, will partner seasoned team driver William Ho.
Scheduled for a 12-round series for the first season, the TCR International Series will support two other rounds of the Formula 1 Championship – in Shanghai, China in April and at Marina Bay for the Singapore Grand Prix in September apart from the 2015 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix™.
Designed to be a new low-cost touring car series, the TCR International Series will be competed with support from the manufacturers, but working in an entirely different approach.
Unlike other international touring car series like the DTM and the WTCC, where the manufacturers also run their own teams and then support customer programmes as a secondary function, in TCR, the manufacturers will homologate the cars, building the cars themselves or through a recognised partner for teams that will run the cars.
As of January 2015, manufacturers that have confirmed their participation in the TCR Series include SEAT, Volkswagen, Ford and Honda – with teams run by Target Competition (SEAT), Liqui Moly Team Engstler (Volkswagen), WestCoast Racing (Honda) and Paolo Coloni Racing.