The 2017 Malaysia Championship Series (MCS) opens today at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) with a significant revamp with a new racing format and support of the prominent Yokohama tyres.
Eliminating the sprint races, the 3rd edition of the MCS will feature only mini endurance races for all 5 rounds of the competition with competitors for both the Touring Production Championship and the Malaysia Touring Car (MTC) Championship battling in 2 one-hour races at every weekend.
“The change of format is aimed at providing more drive time for the competitors; either they choose to compete individually or with a partner. The new format will also allow drivers to share the cost of competing; making it more affordable for drivers and potential competitors in the MCS. We decided on the change in format after engaging the competitors and discuss on ways to further improve the series,” said SIC Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Razlan Razali.
“While we like to thank the drivers and competitors for the inputs, SIC would also like to record our highest appreciation to YHI (Malaysia) for their support in providing Yokohama tyres for the competition and to become the Official Tyre for MCS this season,” he added.
With Yokohama’s support, Dato’ Razlan said, competitors will be able to cut down their cost and make it affordable to race and generate higher participation for Malaysia’s national championship for track racing.
While MTC will be using Yokohama Advan Neova ADO8R, which is a higher performance tyre as compared to last year, the Touring Production class will continue to use the Yokohama Advan A050 in view of the competitors’ positive response on the performance of the tyres.
According to Dato’ Razlan, another additional feature of this year’s edition would be live streaming on the track actions for fans for all the rounds and fans can catch the race live over SIC Official Facebook.
“This year’s National Championship which includes MCS and MSBK, fans will get to follow their favorite team and racers via a live streaming of the race which will be on SIC’s Official Facebook. The link can be shared to all for everyone to follow the race. This is as an added effort from SIC to ensure that the National Championship deserves the coverage it needs to showcase the talent and competition between our very own national racers. Fans are encouraged to support our national racers as part of the effort to promote the development of Malaysian motorsports” added Dato’ Razlan.
On the track-side, the 2017 edition looked set to be an open affair with the decision of last year’s double champion Sakura Tedco Racing Team to skip the season.
Arguably the country’s top racing outfit in the domestic front, Sakura Tedco Racing won both the Touring Production Championship and the Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) championship through Indonesian driver Fitra Eri and Malaysian Mark Darwin respectively.
Eri, confirmed the decision; saying the team, which was named as Team of The Year (4 wheel) category at the recent SIC-Motorsport Association of Malaysia Awards 2016, was taking a break from the championship.
“After 4 titles in the last 4 seasons, Sakura team decided to take a momentarily break from MCS. So probably I will not race this year MCS. Hopefully, I will return soon to race again in Sepang. It has always been a pleasure to race in Sepang,” said the Indonesian driver.
Prior to last year’s sensational victory, Darwin won the Touring Production championship in 2015 after the duo won the MTC championship in 2013; and effectively ended the domination of Syafiq Ali and Proton R3 Motorsports.
Never shy of a challenge, Darwin will be competing this season without the support of his trusted Sakura Tedco Racing Team. Instead, he is supporting another racing friend in the championship.
“As you know, Sakura Tedco Racing won’t be racing this season. So, for the first round I am partnering with YS Lim for CPK Racing which the same team that I drove the Porsche GT3 Cup Car during Sepang 12 hours two years ago. It is going to be fun and exciting,” said Darwin, who sensationally won the Touring Production Championship in 2015.
After a nightmarish result in the opening round in the MTC class, Darwin switched to the premier Touring Production class in Round 2; driving a borrowed Honda FD2 and successfully win the race that weekend.
Last season, Darwin returned to MTC class with Eri taking over the seat in Touring Production class and both won with the support of Sakura Tedco Racing and the engineering brilliance of team manager, Rueben Wong.
The opening round of the MCS starts from today (Friday) with a 3-day programme that includes the TCR Asia Series, the Caterham Championship and the Touring Car Series Asia.
MALAYSIA CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES 2017
Round 1: 10 – 12 March 2017
Round 2: 7 – 9 April 2017
Round 3: 5 – 7 May 2017
Round 4: 21 – 23 July 2017
Round 5: 18 – 20 August 2017