Its here! The Asian Festival Of Speed Malaysia is finally around the corner. In just nine days, Sepang will play host to the 2011 season opener of Asia’s biggest motorsport event. This year, the event will bring rounds 3-6 of the newly renamed JK Racing Asia Series (formerly known as Formula BMW Pacific), rounds 3 & 4 of the Asian Touring Car Series and will showcase the season opener of one of the biggest GT races in Asia, the GT Asia Series.
On the 28-29 May weekend, spectators will get a chance to see the continued battles in the hugely exciting JK Racing Asia Series. The junior formula opened at the same circuit in April during the Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix, where 18 drivers competed in the opening two rounds.
During the Asian Festival Of Speed, drivers will be faced with an added challenge of competing in four rounds of racing over two days. The weekend will test the durability, fitness and endurance of each driver and added to that is the usual debate of ‘rain or no rain’ at a circuit known for either being too hot or too wet.
At the season opening race, hometown hero Nabil Jeffri and Austrian boy wonder Lucas Auer took one win each in front of the supportive Formula 1 crowd. Currently, rookie driver, Auer leads Jeffri by two points, gained from the two pole positions he achieved, with Malaysian drivers Afiq Yazid, Aaron Chang and Hiqmar Danial in third, fourth and fifth respectively while Australian Duvashen Padayachee completes the top six on the leaderboard.
In the Team points, Eurointernational lead the count with 64 points to Petronas Mofaz Racing’s 48 followed by Meritus.GP with 37 points. Reigning Formula BMW Team Champion, Eurasia Motorsport lies in fourth with 32 points whilst Atlantic Racing Team collected 9 over the weekend.
In the Asian Touring Car Series, it was a delightful season opener last month at the Guangdong International Circuit in China. The Series saw the return of Taiwanese touring car regular, Chen Jun San and his Team AAI/Buddy Club to the forefront after a three-year hiatus.
Chen immediately got on the pace claiming the season’s first pole position ahead of some of Asia’s most recognised touring car drivers. He then went on to drive a perfect race to claim the Round 1 win ahead of Hideharu Kuroki of Team IMSP and Kenneth Lau of J.A.S. Motorsport.
It was in the reverse grid order of Round 2 where Lau’s impressive race start allowed him to claim the lead in the ATCS category, one that he maintained all the way to the chequered flag ahead of Kuroki and Chen. Both Chen and Lau claimed one win and one third placed finish leaving them to currently share the lead in the points table.
Series regulars Team IMSP, have added, two young upcoming touring car drivers Hideharu Kuroki and Danny Chau Kwok Sang to their lineup. Kuroki made a mark on his first outing, climbing onto second place on the podium twice over the weekend.
It will be stiff competition all around as the GT Asia drivers get ready to face off with one another for the first time this season. Already changes have been made, combining two successful Series - GT3 Asia and the GT4 Asia Cup - into one and renaming it the GT Asia Series. The merging of the two means that GT3 and GT4 will be split into two Classes but this will also make for a bigger grid and better racing for the fans to enjoy.
Leading the charge into the season will be the 2010 GT3 Asia Champion, Dilantha Malagamuwa, whilst 2010 GT4 Asia Cup Champion, Daniel Bilski will pair up with Frank Yee of S&D Motorsports in their Aston Martin N24.
There will be new cars and new drivers in the lineup including the much touted Ford GT GT3 from Craft Eurasia Racing and Team Clearwater Racing’s Ferrari F458 GT3. A total of 25 cars will begin the 2011 season at Sepang with the Lotus SuperCup Asia joining the Supersport category under the GT4 Class.
The Asian Festival Of Speed will begin its season at Sepang International Circuit over the 28th-29th May 2011 weekend. Entrance to the event is Free with Pit-Walkabout being charged at RM10 per person. Races are scheduled to begin at 9.40am with the Pre-Race Ceremony and Pit-Walkabout scheduled between 12.50pm to 1.50pm.