UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) has expanded the Vios Challenge one-make race series to 40 cars, 10 more than the initial 30 cars due to demand from eager racers.

Launched in April, the Vios Challenge will be the headlining event at the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Racing Festival that will kick off in Penang next month. UMWT has gathered local celebrities to take part in the series, and they are Danny Koo, Geraldine Gan, Venice Min, Shawn Lee, Diana Danielle, Shukri Yahaya, Fattah Amin and the super hot Janna Nick.

“The interest in the Vios Challenge had been overwhelming. We’ve had so many requests by racers who wanted to purchase a car and compete in the Vios Challenge but due to safety and logistics concerns, we have had to restrict the field to a maximum of 40 cars for this season,” said UMWT president Ravindran Kurusamy.

In addition to over a dozen newcomers to racing, the series will now be joined by established names such as “Prince of Drift” Tengku Djan, his Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF) great rival Boy Wong and former Malaysian Super Series (MSS) winner James Veerappan, among other racers.

Joining the race as a competitor himself, UMWT deputy chairman Akio Takeyama said that he was looking forward to the challenge. “I am very excited to be taking part in my first race in the Vios Challenge. I have been working hard in the racing school and I have learned so much from my instructors. I can’t wait for the race to begin.

“I hope that Malaysian motorsports fans will come to the TGR Racing Festivals and enjoy all that we have planned. With the intense level of competition on the race track, the carnival-like atmosphere, celebrity performances and all the fun-filled activities, I believe that the TGR Racing Festival will be an event like we’ve never seen before,” Takeyama said.

As for the race car, it’s based on a Vios 1.5J manual but with a 10% power hike (the 2NR-FE makes 107 PS/140 Nm stock) and track-essential mods. TRD parts include an aerodynamic kit, exhaust system, clutch and limited-slip differential (LSD), suspension system, brake pads, tower bar and lower brace bars, and a full roll cage.

Also on are 15-inch Enkei rims with 195/50 Toyo Proxes tyres, a Motec C125 racing display, a fire suppression system, OMP’s Corsica Superleggero steering wheel, an OMP First-R racing seat and tow hooks at both ends. The cars were prepared by Wing Hin Motorsports in Malaysia.