Sepang International Circuit/
SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT UNVEILS TALENTS UNDER THEIR WINGS FOR 2018
KUALA LUMPUR, 20 March 2018 – A new year, a new challenge. Sepang International Circuit (SIC) has ushered in 2018 on a high note with the announcement of its talent Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah racing in the prestigious MotoGP world championship.
The huge step made by Hafizh Syahrin and SIC to reach the pedestal of MotoGP underlined the efforts by SIC to develop talents under their SIC Motorsports Talent Development initiative.
The initiative covers development of talents in two wheels and four wheels racing with the ultimate aim of reaching the world championship racing.
In the four wheel segment, SIC boasts five formidable drivers with plenty of experience. They are Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan, Afiq Ikhwan Yazid, Weiron Tan and Nabil Jeffri that will drive in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the Le Mans 24 Hrs. Whilst, Mitchell Cheah. winner of the TCR Asia Shootout, will participate in the TCR Asia 2018.
Besides Hafizh, SIC have Zulfahmi Khairuddin in the Moto2 world championship, Adam Norrodin and quintet from the SIC's home-grown talent search programme Impian ke MotoGP – Danial El Fahim, Muhammad Harith Haziq, Muhammad Izam Ikmal, Mohd Daniel Syahmi and Muhammad Idil Fitri.
In line with SIC's vision of creating a balanced motor racing ecosystem besides having world-class facilities, the development programme –seeks to identify, recruit and develop Malaysians to race in world-class series. Besides that, it also aim to have drivers, riders, engineers and mechanics working at all levels of motor racing ladder. The programme also aspires to promote riders, drivers, engineers and mechanics to be attracted and absorbed by automobile manufacturers.
SIC Chief Executive Officer Dato' Razlan Razali was delighted to announce the new line-up for SIC Motorsports Talent Development for 2018.
“We are excited to announce the line-up for SIC Motorsports Talent Development as we take on the challenge in the new year to a higher level. We have seen that having a talent racing in the world championship is no longer a far-fetched dream, as proven by Hafizh Syahrin who now races with Monster Yamaha Tech3 in the MotoGP. We have also seen the impressive feat of Jazeman, Afiq, Weiron and Nabil in claiming a win and podiums in the Asian Le Mans Series earlier this year.
“From the beginning, our dream was to create a pathway for local motorsport talents to reach the pinnacle of racing, be it MotoGP or Formula 1. We have always believed that our talents have the quality to one day make it to the pinnacle, but they have arduous obstacles in front of them. This is where we come in to contribute,” said Dato' Razlan.
In the four wheel segment, several pathways have been identified for drivers to make their progression.
Starting from go-karting scene, the initiative will support 10 budding single-seater talents in the SIC X30 Karting Series which will kick-off in April with the selection shootout. From there, the talents will have the opportunity to move up into racing in the Asian Formula Renault or F4 South East Asia (F4SEA), the F4 European series and ultimately the F3 series in Europe.
In the endurance racing front, Jazeman, Weiron and Afiq and Weiron are supported in the Asian Le Mans Series after making their debuts at the tail end of 2017-2018 season with team Jackie Chan DC Racing X Jota and Nabil with Eurasia Motorsport (both LMP2 class).
This year, we are pleased to announce SIC’s participation in the prestigious World Endurance Championship (WEC) Super Series 2018/2019 which is inclusive of two LeMans 24H beginning July 2018. This is the first time and history for an all Malaysian drivrs line-up. Our drivers will continue the assosciation with the successful and highly rated team, the Jackie Chan DC Racing X Jota.
Jacki Chan racing is co-owned by David Cheng and legendary actor, Jacki Chan. Despite only being formed in 2015, the team has achieved considerable success in Asia and abroad. Their greatest achievement was winning the 24 hours of LeMans last year against world class opposition.
In the touring car front, Mitchell Cheah – the MalaysianTouring Production class champion from the Malaysia Championship Series – is the first talent that has come out from the TCR Asia Shootout that is supported through the initiative. The shootout saw three top drivers from the Malaysia Championship Series compete for a place to race in the TCR Asia Championship. From there, drivers will have the opportunity to race in the TCR Europe Series before ultimately competing in the FIA World Touring Car Cup.
Mitchell will participate in the 2018 TCR Asia Championship with the first round in conjunction with the Malaysia Championship Series in 2018 with a German team Engstler Motorsport. The Team was made it's World Touring Car Championship debut in 2005 and since then has raced all over the world. Despite being a German team it has also raced in Asia many times with success. They are the reigning TCR Asia champions and hot favourites for the title again this year.
The path to success for two wheels racing starts from Impian ke MotoGP programme, which aims to unearth hidden gems in motorcycle racing specifically from the age of 13 to 16 years old.
The best two out of the five talents – Muhammad Idil and Muhammad Izam – will compete in the Spanish CEV Championship which starts in Estoril, Portugal, on March 24. In between the CEV Championship, the two will also race in the Asia Road Racing Championships in the 250cc category and in the MSBK Championship. This is for them to gain as much racing millage and experience as possible.
The other three candidates will race in two different series throughout the year – the Malaysian Cub Prix under the Wira Category and MSBK before they could move on to the international stage. All riders will be with the programme for at least 3 years.
Daniel Syahmi is the only rider to be selected for the Asian Talent Cup which had its first race last week in conjunction with the first round of MotoGP in Dha, Qatar. In fact, Daniel, 15 years old, is one of the two Malaysian riders in this year’s ATC may be the only best performing Malaysians by achieving 9th and 11th in Race 1 and Race 2 respectively.
The next progression would be the Moto3 world championship.
Currently, SIC has two riders racing in the Moto3 world championship: Adam and Sasaki, who are racing under the banner Petronas Sprinta Racing team. This will be their second year together with the programme. Adam was 17th overall last year with 42 points while Sasaki finished 20th overall on 32 points. Last weekend saw a good start from both riders, scoring 11th and 8the position in Doha which places the team in 6th position overall out of 16 Moto3 teams.
The progression continues with the Moto2 world championship, where former Moto3 and WSBK Supersport rider Zulfahmi is competing under the SIC Racing Team. Zulfahmi is the only Malaysian rider to have two Moto3 and World Supersport Championship podium finishes to his name. As expected, the first race was very difficult for Fahmi but it was a positive learning experience and expect him to improve in the next rounds.
Finally the pinnacle of two wheels is is Hafizh Syahrin, our first Malaysian and SE Asian riders to participate in the MotoGP premier categegory and added another history achievement by scoring 2 points last weekend. Hafizh progression from pocket bike, to Cub Prix, Asia Road Racing Championship, Moto2 CEV, Moto2 and finally MotoGP has proven the path is clear and achieavable for all aspiring Malaysians. If the motivation is strong which is to be in the world champion and the willingness to sacrifice, work hard and be focus, the dream can be a reality. And this is evident by the success progression of Hafizh Syahrin.
“It is a continuous process,” said Dato' Razlan. “While we are proud to have the likes of Hafizh Syahrin racing in the premier class, we want to see and support more drivers and riders into the world championship level. We will keep working and so must they.”
“We have laid down the foundation in both four wheels and two wheels racing so our drivers and riders have a clear vision of their future ahead of them.” added Dato’ Razlan.
For more information, please contact SIC National Press Officer Nor Lina Ayob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Profile of SIC Talents as below:-
World Endurance Championship & Le Mans 24 Hrs
1. Jazeman Jaafar
Date of Birth: 13 Nov 1992
Achievements: Formula BMW Asia (Meritus Racing) – Champion in 2007, British F3 Series (Carlin) – 2nd overall in 2012, 2011 – 2015 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Development Driver, 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 Monaco Grand Prix Winner, Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup (HTP Motorsports) – 2nd overall in 2016. Winner Asian Le Mans Series Buriram round 2017/18 with Jackie Chan DC Racing..
2. Afiq Ikhwan Yazid
Date of Birth: 8 Aug 1991
Achievements: Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Champion in 2015, 2016 & 2017. GTM Champion for Sepang 12hours in 2015. Turned full time Pro in 2015 driving for 3 various International team from China and Japan. Winner Asian Le Mans Series Buriram round 2017/18 with Jackie Chan DC Racing..
3. Weiron Tan
Date of Birth: 3 Dec 1994
Achievements: PLUS Yamaha SL International Challenge and PLUS Yamaha SL Cup Champion in 2010, 2011 Malaysian Super Series Sports Production Champion and Lotus Supercup Asia Champion, 2011-2014 Caterham F1 Junior Programme, 2013 Protyre Formula Renaults UK 2.0 Vice Champion, ATS Formula 3 – 3rd (rookie) in 2014, Pro Mazda Championship (Andretti Autosport) – 4th overall and Winterfest Pro Mazda Championship – Vice Champion in 2015 . 2016 participate Asian Le Mans with Aylezo Ecotint Racing, 3 times poles and podium – China GT/Blancpain Asia Series in 2017, Winner Asian Le Mans Series Buriram round 2017/18 with Jackie Chan DC Racing.
4. Nabil Jeffri
Date of Birth: 24 October 1993
Achievements: 2010 – World youngest F1 test driver for Lotus Racing Formula One, 2012 – 2nd Overall Champion JK Racing Asia Series (Euro International), 2014- 2nd Overall Champion ATS Formel 3 Cup, German (team Motopark) and 3rd place Zandvoort Masters of Formula 3(Team Motopark), 2017/2018 – 3rd place Asian Le Mans Series Malaysia round .
TCR Asia Series
1. Mitchell Cheah
Date of Birth: 29 March 1998
Achievements: Represented Malaysia in the ROTAX Max World Finals in New Orleans, USA in November 2013.Asian Festival of Speed (AFOS) TCR Asia Series placed 2nd overall (2000cc Class) 2015. Malaysian Championship series - 2nd overall 2016.Winner of Touring Production class in Malaysia Championship Series 2017.Winner of TCR Asia Shootout 2018.
MotoGP World Championship
1. Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah
Date of Birth: 5 May 1994
Achievements: 2 Podium in 2017 MotoGP World Championship - 2nd at San Marino GP, 3rd at Japan GP in 2017 Moto2 season. 3rd at Malaysian GP in 2012 as wildcard rider. 2013 - 3rd overall in FIM CEV Repsol in Moto2 category. 2012 - 6th in CEV Buckler Spanish Championship in Moto2 category. 2011 – 4th Overall FIM ARRC Supersports 600 class and the youngest rider to win a round of 17 in FIM ARRC Supersport Class.
Moto2 World Championship
1. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (SIC Racing Team)
Date of Birth: 20 Oct 1991
Achievements: 2nd at Malaysian MotoGP and 3rd at Valencia MotoGP in 2012 Moto3 season. 2nd at Malaysian round of WSBK 2016 in World Supersport category. 2012 – Most improved riders for the Moto3 category.
Moto3 World Championship
1. Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
Date of Birth: 13 June 1998
Achievement: First rider to move up into the Moto3 World Championship from the Asia Talent Cup programme in 2015.
2. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
Date of Birth: 4 Oct 2000
Achievement: Winner of Asia Talent Cup 2015. Moto3 Rookie of the Year 2017.
Impian ke MotoGP
1. Muhammad Izam Ikmal– FIM CEV Repsol, ARRC and
2. Muhammad Idil Fitri - FIM CEV Repsol, ARRC and MSBK
3. Mohd Daniel Syahmi– Wildcard ATC, MSBK and Cub Prix
4. Danial El Fahim - MSBK and Cub Prix
5. Muhammad Harith Haziq - MSBK and Cub Prix
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