The Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) Racing Festival kicked off in grand fashion, with a vibrant crowd thronging the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang to catch the highlight of the event – the start of the Toyota Vios Challenge.

Day one of the single-make race series saw three rounds of qualifying take place for each class – Promotional, Sporting and Super Sporting. Following that were two race heats for the first two classes, but more on that later.

In qualifying for the Promotional class, Shawn Lee managed to secure the top spot, with a commanding lead of 1.355 seconds ahead of Fattah Amin (1:19.863) in second place.

Trailing behind was Shukri Yahaya (1:20.720), Danny Koo (1:21.732), Diana Danielle (1:21.749), Masaaki Murata (1:21.750), Venice Min (1:23.990), UMW Toyota’s Akio Takeyama (1:24.032), Janna Nick (1:24.566) and Geraldine Gan (1:27.919).

As for the Sporting class, Ken Foo started first on the grid with a qualifying time of 1:19.592. He was just ahead (by 0.259 seconds) of Brendon Lim (1:19.851), followed by Patrick Tam (1:19.876), Eric Yong (1:19.868), etc.

The last of the qualifying session was for the Super Sporting class, with ‘Prince of Drift’ Tengku Djan coming in first with a time of 1:16.932 around the specially prepared Batu Kawan track. Coming in behind him is Mark Darwin (1:17.183), Syafiq Ali (1:17.798), William Ho (1:18.014), Kenny Lee (1:18.211), etc.

Qualifying completed, the first of the two scheduled races for the day turned out to be a wet one, as a downpour delayed the start of Race 1 for the Sporting class. In the end, Ken Foo managed to hold on to his position at the top of the pack, with Brendon Lim coming in second and Patrick Tam in third, all after the regulation 16 laps.

In an eventful Race 1 of the Promotional class, Shawn Lee took the chequered flag ahead of Shukri Yahaya and Danny Koo, despite a near crash between two of the celebrity racers. Coming in in fourth was actress and mother of two, Diana Danielle, and in fifth place came Masaaki Murata, president of TRD Asia.

Aside from the Toyota Vios Challenge races, visitors to the event were also able to get up close with the highly anticipated C-HR, which we caught up with recently. There’s also plenty of food and drink available, as well as various stores selling merchandise and original vehicle accessories.

There were also several drift shows performed by three-time D1 Grand Prix world champion and holder of the world drift speed record, Masato Kawabata. Together with Hideyuki Fujino (two-time Drift Muscle champion), the duo mesmerised the crowd with an impressive display of skill, precision and a lot of noise.

For those who are interested in checking out the event, the Batu Kawan Stadium in Penang is where you’ll want to be, with entry being completely free to all visitors.