It’s all systems go for the first race of the inaugural Toyota Vios Challenge race series, as 24 motor racing novices have successfully graduated from the Vios Challenge Racing School. Now equipped with the necessary skills to handle the race-ready Vios, the graduates were also awarded a certificate of competency from Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Japan.

For the past few weeks, the graduates had to complete a compulsory introductory course where professional trainers ensured their students understood the fundamentals of racing. This includes various race and safety protocols, advanced car handling techniques and maintaining proper racing lines.

Among the graduates are several famous local celebrities – Danny Koo, Geraldine Gan, Venice Min, Shawn Lee, Diana Danielle, Shukri Yahaya, Fattah Amin and Janna Nick – who will race alongside other novice racers as well as more seasoned ones like Tengku Djan, Boy Wong, James Veerapan, Syafiq Ali, Mark Darwin and Akina Teo.

Not wanting to miss out on the action is Akio Takeyama, who is not only the current deputy chairman of UMW Toyota Motor, but also has more than 30 years of working experience in Toyota Motor Corporation. Takeyama will compete in the Promotional Category class alongside the aforementioned celebrities.

The Vios Challenge will feature three racing classes – Super Sporting Category, Sporting Category and Promotional Category – where participants with a successful racing record will be moved into the first elite class (Super Sporting Category).

Meanwhile, the Sporting Category class will include 17 racers and the remaining ten will be in the Promotional Category class. Regardless, each category will have two heats with points being awarded for top positions in each heat.

The 40 competition cars are specially prepared by Wing Hin Motorsports here in Malaysia, and is based on the Vios 1.5J MT. Among the modifications done 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.

There’s also the 15-inch Enkei rims shod with Toyo Proxes tyres (195/50), a Motec C125 racing display, a fire suppression system, OMP Corsica Superleggero steering wheel, OMP First-R racing seat and tow hooks (front and back). The 2NR-FE four-cylinder engine has also been tweaked to make 10% more compared to the regular car.

The first race of the Toyota Vios Challenge kicks off in Batu Kawan, Penang on August 12 and 13. The racers will compete on a specially-designed 1.65 km-long racing circuit, which has nine turns with the longest straight measuring about 156 meters in length.

The race will be the headlining event during the Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Racing Festival, which is open the members of the public for free. Aside from the action on track, attendees will also get to enjoy a myriad of activities including drift shows, celebrity performances, food trucks, test drives, and a special preview of the upcoming C-HR.