Great news if you have been looking for a place to upskill and hone your ability at the controls of your car, as the Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM) has announced a range of driver training and skills development programmes. These are supported by the ministry of youth and sports (KBS) as well as Sepang International Circuit (SIC), and is powered by Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF).

The support from KBS and SIC helps ensure that the price of admission is within reach of most motorsports enthusiasts instead of just the elite few, and MAM along with MSF hope that the programmes will attract drivers who realise the need for improvement of one’s skills at the wheel.

There are three training programmes on offer – Defensive Driving, Advanced Driving and Race Circuit Driving. First, the defensive driving programme is a half-day course where drivers will learn how to stay focused, avoid distractions, detect potentially hazardous situations before they become dangerous, as well as driving with improved fuel efficiency. Activities here include on-limit braking, obstacle avoidance and a basic slalom.

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The next level up is the advanced driving programme, which focuses on the development of driving skills for both safety and enjoyment of high-performance driving. The advanced programme is a full-day course that is an ideal platform for aspiring racers and enthusiasts looking to improve their car control and command of dynamic vehicle handling. The focus here is on practical exercises such as oversteer and understeer, high-speed manoeuvring and skid control.

Rouding up the trio of programmes on offer is the race circuit driving programme, which is pitched at track day driving enthusiasts and club-level racers with experience at the Sepang International Circuit, who want to improve and sharpen their existing circuit driving skills as well as to gain further in-depth knowledge of the 15-turn, 5.5 km-long race track.

This will be a comprehensive, full-day programme led by current Proton R3 driver and reigning Sepang 1000KM (S1K) champion Fariqe Hairuman, and which consists of dynamic driving, car control activities, turn-by-turn driving exercises on SIC and more. Here, programme entrants will take part in walk along the circuit through each corner, which offers the best way of seeing in person the nuances of each corner before turning a wheel.

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This will also introduce to the drivers advanced driving lines for each turn, while observing specific idiosyncrasies, with subtle trick and tips shared, culminating in a tying up of all segments in order to realise improvements in overall lap times.

The driver training programmes have been permitted to run during this period of the conditional movement control order (CMCO), though attendance is limited to 10 participants per session. Strict standard operating protocols will be adhered to at each running of the courses.

“The Motorsports Association of Malaysia hopes that the programme will improve drivers’ racing craft and at the same time promote better racing etiquette and safety. We want to create racing advocacy among the track day segment and club-level racing drivers,” said MAM secretary-general Muizz Azli.

“Malaysia Speed Festival is honoured to have the opportunity to work with all parties to provide this affordable driver skills training in order to both improve road safety and help save lives. We also expect this to spur interest in proper motor racing preparation at the national level,” said MSF principal Adian Yein.

This initial series of three driver training courses in the MAM Driving Skills Training programme starts at RM180 for the Defensive Driving Course which will normally be priced at RM250; RM350 for the Advanced Driving course, normally priced at RM450; and RM500 for the Race Circuit Driving course for current MAM Competition License holder, or RM600 for those without a competition license; this will normally be priced at RM900.

Participants will be using one’s own vehicle, and are required to wear appropriate shoes, long trousers, helmet for the Race Circuit Driving programme, and above all, have a keen sense for safety.

The first of the MAM Driving Skills Training series will take place on the weekend of December 12-13, 2020 at the Sepang International Circuit, with subsequent events to follow on January 16-17, 2021 and March 13-14, 2021. Registrations and payments are being received now; for further information, e-mail general@msfracing.com .