We were at Pavilion KL yesterday for the launch of the Proton Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing (what a mouthful!) and saw some very interesting displays at the glitzy shopping mall – classic Formula 1 cars!

Unlike in many of today’s Formula 1 roadshows, these alive and revving classics are the actual cars piloted by drivers who some of them have since gone on to be legends. An initiative of Sepang International Circuit and supported by Malaysia Airlines (the latter flew in the cars and their guardians), the display is of course in conjunction with this weekend’s 2010 F1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix.

We spotted the Ford powered Benetton B192, the car that brought together the talents of technical director Ross Brawn, designer Rory Byrne and one rookie German driver called Michael Schumacher. Schumi won two drivers’ championships with Benetton before the trio moved to Ferrari and dominated an era.


Back then, tobacco money was swirling in the sport, and we saw another Camel branded car inside the building. This Lotus 99T chassis no.4 of 1987 is the exact car driven by the late legend Ayrton Senna to victory in that year’s Monaco and Detroit Grand Prix. The Monaco win was the first of Senna’s six wins in Monte Carlo, and the following Detroit GP was the last time a Lotus won a Formula 1 race. Did you know that the 99T’s turbocharged 1.5-litre Honda V6 engine produced about 1,000 bhp and pushed the 580 kg car to 100 km/h from rest in only 2.5 seconds?

Also on display at Pavilion is the Ensign N180, March 811, Tyrell 012/3, Dallara F191 and Benetton B190. The cartoonish looking B190 was driven by three-time world champion Nelson Piquet and the Tyrell was Martin Brundle’s car. Brundle is now the “voice of F1” as commentator for BBC, and previously ITV.

Tomorrow (1st April) will be the last day you can catch the cars in Pavilion, before they are moved to Sepang International Circuit for the race weekend.