As Round 2 of MSF Racing Series approaches this coming weekend, the entry list has been finalised and we’re looking at some astonishing numbers of vehicles that will be racing in what is without a doubt the biggest racing series in Malaysia today.

Participating vehicles include a whopping 195 racing cars, 60 superbikes in the brand new, first ever MSF Superbike racing, 10 Caterhams from the Caterham Motorsports Asia series, and 20 drift cars taking part in the MSF Drift Gonzo support event on Saturday.

MSF Superbikes
With the first ever MSF Superbikes round taking place this Sunday, many new riders will also take their first ever foray into competitive superbike racing. What can we expect? “Safety is optimum, but we know that when the flag drops the adrenaline takes over and these riders are going to fight hard,” said partner promoter for MSF Superbikes Liew Chin Hooi.

Legendary Malaysian superbike racer Oh Kah Beng attended a briefing organised for the new riders earlier this week. “Race hard, race smart, be safe, and don’t forget to have fun!” exclaimed Kah Beng, who went wheel-to-wheel with the world’s best in the mid-80s at the now defunct Batu Tiga circuit and around Australasia. With his support and blessing, the MSF Superbike riders are hyped and ready to rock and roll.

The Super400 category of MSF Superbikes currently seems to be the most technologically innovating, featuring a ’90s legend, the Cagiva Mito – converted to run a powerful Suzuki RGV250 two-stroke engine! This same Suzuki engine was what powered the early Aprilia RS250s as raced by Max Biaggi and Loris Capirossi in the mid-90s.

Owner and rider Muhd Hirzi Ismail, however, has gone a step further and enlarged the engine to close to 350cc. Beast? You bet! In a very colourful racing field that includes Aprilias, Kawasakis, Yamahas, KTMs, and Suzukis, it will be interesting to see where Muhd Hirzi’s lone Cagiva stands.

There will also be four female superbike racers that will be battling it out this weekend. “There are no barriers to racing at MSF, and we greatly welcome the women to show the way forwards for other women that have a burning motorsports passion,” added Liew. This is in addition to the four female car racers that consistently compete in the car racing segment at MSF, adding to the diversity and proving the opportunity that MSF brings to the Malaysian motorsports scene.

MSF Drift Gonzo
MSF Drift Gonzo kicks off with a new drift layout that will run in the Sepang Circuit paddock carpark this Saturday, featuring new obstacles such as The Spiral and a new challenge in the form of The San-Patsu.

The San-Patsu is derived from the Japanese underground drifting world which literally translates to “three movements.” In a single fluid move in third gear at 90 km/h, drifters are expected to smoothly transition the car from left to right and back to left again and having their rear bumper touch the drift poles at each transition spot to score points.

Sounds easy? Think again! It is a move that requires precision drifting and positioning of the rear bumper of the vehicle close to the drift pole clipping point, and yet still be set up for the next rear clipping point – all at over 90 km/h.

Previous Drift Gonzo champion at the 2017 Finale round Ivan Choo will most likely not be back to open his defence for the Championship this year, as his turbocharged Nissan 350Z is suffering mechanical problems after an event last weekend. Disabled drifter Pak Busu will be running this weekend in his Toyota Corolla KE70, something to look out for and truly a testament to his passion that his physical disabilities pose no boundaries for the love for his motorsports hobby!

MSF Cars Racing
This is a round of new activities across the board, including in the main MSF Cars Racing segment which will feature a first ever 10-lap sprint race format with a compulsory three-minute pit stop. Historically MSF races have always been two rolling start races of five laps each, and once a year there is the MSF Enduro, a 35-minute short endurance race with compulsory driver change in the middle, to provide a mix of strategies.

As MSF edges towards its third year of racing, things have been changed around a bit to create the races more interesting, and with that for 2018 the MSF 10-lap Sprint race format is introduced and planned to run at two rounds, starting with this upcoming Round 2.

For the race teams, this introduces an element of strategy. Have their driver push at 100% early on to gain track position, then pit in early to let the tyres cool off before continuing the run? Or conserve the tyres and minimise scrubbing, taking advantage of fresher tyres to go longer before the required pit stop? No doubt the teams will be hunched around before the race going over their data and planning the most effective strategy!

The numbers are growing in the two new categories – Super Production and Street 2000. Super Production features current model Toyota Vios and Honda Jazz as well as the odd Myvi taking up the fight. With 11 entrants by the second round, it’s proving to be a tough battleground for these types of vehicles which we usually see driving our roads daily.

As usual the biggest interest is always in the Race Cars Open category, where the quickest, most brutal, most powerful machine engage head-to-head. In the previous round, Faidzil Alang’s much anticipated drive in the 500 whp Fleetoil Racing Honda Civic EG6 turbo came to an end in the final race he had a coming together with Shazull Hisham’s Smartroleum – Evotec Honda Civic EK9-K24, leaving Mark Darwin to take the win for Sitty-DNT Racing in another Honda Civic EG6-K24.

The turbocharged Satria 4WD of Millennium Fatboy Racing, also promising to be a contender for the Race Cars Open title after positive pre-season practice time, did not manage to make the grid for the Final due to an issue with a fuel injector. Says team manager Thilak ‘Fatboy’ Sharma: “This round we’re planning to go all out. Karamjit [Singh] will drive first, then Alif [Hamdan] will take over after the pit stop and max it out.”