Three Malaysian simulator racers will be spearheading Malaysia’s challenge in the Toyota Gazoo Racing GT Cup Asia tomorrow (October 16).

Taj Izrin Aiman Taj Madira, Muhammad Iqbal Ahmad Suji and Nabil Azlan will be going up against the best Gran Turismo Sport racers from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, India and Taiwan in the event, organised by Toyota Motor Asia Pacific (TMAP). Up for grabs is a chance to represent Asia in the TGR GT Cup Global Finals, and a cash prize of US$6,000 (RM24,953).

Taj Izrin Aiman finished second overall in the same event last year and will be looking to win it this time. Muhammad Iqbal is also making his second TGR GT Cup Asia appearance after finishing fourth overall last year. Both qualified for the event by finishing in the top two positions respectively in the recently-concluded Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship, where Taj Izrin Aiman won his second consecutive title.

TGR GT Cup Asia will be contested over four online races with competitors awarded points based on their placing. The opening race will see drivers drive the Toyota GR Yaris around the 7.3 km Tokyo Expressway for five laps. The top 10 will proceed to the finals. The next race will see the rest battle at the 4.5 km Fuji Speedway in the GR Supra – five drivers from this “consolation race” will get to take part in the finals.

The new Toyota GR86 is making its debut this season, and racers will drive this 2.4L RWD sports car at the famous Spa-Francorchamps, doing five laps of the 7.0 km Belgian circuit. This round will include a mandatory pit stop and a compulsory tyre change.

Moving up the ranks in machine and circuit, the fourth and final race will be three long laps of the 13.6 km historical Le Mans circuit, and drivers will be piloting Toyota’s Le Mans and FIA WEC-winning TS050 Hybrid prototype race car. From street racing a GR Yaris to doing Le Mans in a day!

Besides competing for the individual grand prize of US$6,000, our drivers will also be vying for the US$6,000 team prize pool money. If you make it to the very top, e-sports is very lucrative – Taj Izrin Aiman has already banked RM20k in the local Toyota GR Velocity Esports Championship, which was first held in 2018 and had over 800 gamers participating this year.

“Simulator racing technology has also evolved exponentially over the years and today it is becoming an increasingly important training platform to bring new drivers into motor-racing. This is something we have already experienced firsthand with the participation of virtual racers in the Vios Challenge racing championship in Malaysia. They are not only capable of making a quicker transition into a racing car, but they are also excelling in racing,” said Gazoo Racing Malaysia’s chief motorsports officer Akio Takeyama.

“Our objective in Malaysian motorsports is to cultivate greater interest, awareness and appreciation for the sport. There is also enormous talent both on the racing circuit and online, and we would like to bring this to the forefront in support of youth development,” said UMW Toyota Motor president Ravindran K.

Read more on the Toyota Gazoo Racing Young Talent Development Programme here.