The Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific made its return for the 2017 season last weekend, kicking off in Abu Dhabi (6-8 April).This is already proving to be a particularly exciting season, with driver Zen Low introduced as the sole Malaysian participating in the race series and the first Malaysian to compete in the brand new Ferrari 488 Challenge model. Zen Low has gotten off to a spectacular start, earning second place in the first race and third in the second race of the competition.
During NAZA World Group of Companies’ announcement of its sponsorship of Zen for the 2017 season, Datuk Wira SM Faisal Tan Sri SM Nasimuddin, NAZA World Group Executive Chairman, said, “With the introduction of the new Ferrari 488 Challenge race car, the competition is bound to be more dynamic and power-packed than ever. Zen Low has already made a fantastic first impression with his second place win in Race 1, and third in Race 2 and we look forward to watching him in action for the remainder of the 2017 Ferrari Challenge APAC season. With all his experience, he has proven himself to be a strong competitor and we have no doubt he will have a great show of support at Round 5 in Sepang this August!”
Zen Low will be racing for the entire 2017 season and is competing in the Trofeo Pirelli category under the race number of 69 and team name NAZA Aylezo. Zen has an established career as one of the most well-known and successful race drivers in Asia. An astute businessman with a passion for racing, he founded Aylezo Motorsport in 2009. Over the years, Zen has taken part in a variety of motorsport events both locally and regionally, including competitions such as the Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race (2009 & 2010), the Gulf 12 Hours 2012, Asian Le Mans Series (2013 & 2016), Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo (2013, 2014 & 2016), GT Asia 2015, Sepang 12 Hours (2015 & 2016) and Bathurst 12 Hours 2017.
“As a longtime admirer of Ferrari, I’m incredibly excited and honoured to be racing in a Cavallino Rampante – particularly one that’s celebrated as the highest performance sports car in the brand’s history. This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I feel a great sense of pride to be representing Malaysia in such a high-profile regional race series. I appreciate the support of sponsors such as NAZA World who make it possible for me to live my passion and make an impact in the international sporting arena,” shared Zen Low.
For the 2017 season, the mighty Ferrari 488 Challenge makes its debut, taking the place of the Ferrari 458 Challenge. The Ferrari 488 Challenge is the most powerful car in the history of one-make series, powered by a V8 3.9-litre engine that delivers a forceful 670hp.
The Ferrari 488 Challenge features enhanced aerodynamics with adjustments made to the front radiator layout and the inclusion of new vents on the bumper for improved air-flow and drag reduction. A complete redesign of the front bonnet and front bumper increased downforce and balanced the rear load to provide a 7% improvement in efficiency compare to the 458 Challenge EVO use previously for this competition. To increase stability at high speeds, the car features a bigger rear wing with an air foil similar to that used on the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship-winning 488 GTE, which increases efficiency by 9% in comparison to its predecessor. The intakes on the rear flanks now take cooling air to the rear brakes, optimizing downforce, while the engine air intakes are now positioned laterally under the rear spoiler to take advantage of the high pressure generated in this area.
The Ferrari Challenge was established as a one-make series in 1993, bringing together complete track novices and drivers with prior competition experience. The series spans three regions: North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. This year, the Ferrari Challenge uses a multi-class format; drivers are grouped under Trofeo Pirelli, Trofeo Pirelli AM, Trofeo Pirelli 458, Coppa Shell, Ladies’ Cup and Gentlemen’s Cup.
Following on from Abu Dhabi, the 2017 Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific will head to Shanghai (27-29 May), Zhejiang (9 -11 June) and Fuji (7- 9 July) before making its way to Sepang (25-27 August). From there it continues to Singapore (15-17 September) and finishes off in Mugello (26-29 October) for the Finali Mondiali.