The sights and sounds of race cars and motorbikes speeding through the heart of Kuala Lumpur at the Petronas Motorsports Demo Run last Sunday left the crowds amped up for the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.
It was a swelteringly hot afternoon but people continued to line the track – laid out over Jalan Ampang in front of KLCC – all the way into the evening. Unlike last year’s torrential downpour, this year’s event was played out under sunny skies throughout, ensuring that everyone who performed could give their all through their machines.
Whetting their appetites before the show started in earnest were American street freestyle stunt riders Aaron Twite and Nick “Apex” Brocha. The riders from the XDL Sportbike Freestyle Championship drew in the cheers as each rider tried to outdo the other’s stunts.
After that came a whole host of Petronas riders from the Malaysian Cub Prix Championship as well as the Asia Road Racing championship, popping wheelies and doing burnouts to the amazement of two-wheeled enthusiasts. Petronas Talent Development rider Ramdan Rosli from the Spanish National Championship also made an appearance.
Later, lucky guests got to ride shotgun as Australian GP winner Nico Rosberg and Primax technical performance consultant Lewis Hamilton tore up the track in the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG and A 45 AMG respectively. The duo pushed the 360 hp road rockets so hard that by the end of the stint smoke was pouring out the CLA 45’s not-inconsequential brakes.
Other Petronas drivers also featured during the show. AsiaCup Series driver Afiq Ikhwan piloted his Formula BMW, while Spanish DTM star Daniel Juncadella performed in a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe DTM racer dressed in special gold Syntium livery. The latter also took guests around for two exhilarating laps each, including Kuala Lumpur mayor Ahmad Phesal Talib.
But the meat of the event was undoubtedly the showcase of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 car. Both F1 drivers – first Lewis, then Nico – took to the track in 2012’s F1 W03, complete with the team’s 2014 livery and Malaysia-specific Primax branding.
The duo both put on amazing performances, flying through Jalan Ampang while igniting the air with the 2.4 litre V8’s high-pitched scream. They were real crowd-pleasers, drifting the car and pulling a number of donuts to rapturous cheers and applause.
Later in the week, the two drivers took part in a meet-and-greet session with the fans, who had lined up for hours beforehand. Nico and Lewis shook hands with their ardent supporters and signed various memorabilia, from flags to miniature helmets to their own T-shirts!
The race weekend is already underway, and with Petronas and the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team putting such an incredible show over the past week, there couldn’t have been a better run-up to one of the team’s home races. The team are by far the frontrunners of this season and favourites to win the Malaysian Grand Prix, so it looks set to be an exciting weekend ahead.