Subang Jaya, 26 November 2018 – Team Proton R3 (R3), have defended the Sepang 1000KM Endurance Race (S1K) title it won in 2017 by claiming a second successive win in the event. Fariqe Hairuman and Syafiq Ali drove their Proton Iriz to the top of the podium in the 181-lap race, simultaneously getting the first major win for the car as well as a fourth S1K title for R3.
Team Proton R3 sets new records with S1K victory
By winning the 2018 race, PROTON and R3 set new records for the S1K. A fourth overall victory means R3 is the most successful team in the event’s history. It was also the fifth time a Proton car crossed the finish line in first place while the Proton Iriz is the fourth different Proton model to win following victories by the Proton Satria Neo in 2012, Proton Prevé in 2014 and Proton Suprima S in 2016 and 2017. Both achievements are records and making things even sweeter, this was the third time Syafiq Ali won the race, making him the most successful driver in S1K history.
Going further back in history, PROTON also has three additional victories in Malaysian endurance racing events. R3 won the 2005 and 2006 Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MME) while the PROTON EON Racing Team (PERT) were the winners of the inaugural MME event in 2000.
“The 2018 S1K was a tough and exciting race run in hot weather conditions at a very fast pace. There were many lead changes with multiple safety car periods adding to the complexity of our race strategy. We managed to get a good lead over the rest of the field with 40 laps to go and thankfully we were able to then stretch our advantage to over 2 minutes at the end of the race,” said Gary Lee, Team Principal of Proton R3.
Collaborations with technical partners and fan support key to R3 success
Although the drivers get most of the glory, motor racing is a team sport with success dependent on the hard work of multiple key partners and people to ensure a positive result. For instance, the R3 engineers and team personnel spent countless hours to painstakingly build a winning car and the end result reflects the technical capabilities and professionalism of everyone involved. The car then had to be supported by the best parts from the team’s technical partners.
A key partner and sponsor to R3 is PETRONAS, who supply lubricants to the team. The collaboration between the national oil company and national automotive brand stretches back decades with each party working in a symbiotic relationship that benefits their customers.
Another important ingredient for motorsports success is the support of fans and other external parties. R3 was the most well supported team at S1K as evidenced by the sea of fans dressed in yellow team t-shirts seated in the grandstand during the race. An estimated 2,000 R3 supporters comprising Proton car clubbers, vendors, dealers and even bankers attended the event and their support helped push the team to success.
“Motorsports is a unique team sport as it requires many team members to do smaller tasks to assist the drivers in winning a race. Teamwork is vital for R3 to succeed because when we win, it is due to everyone working together and doing their part and this includes the fans. Without their support, it would be impossible to succeed,” added Gary Lee.
PROTON road cars to benefit from motorsports experience
As a car manufacturer, PROTON is constantly working to improve its products to benefit its customers. Motorsports is one of the most important areas to developing better cars as the high-pressure atmosphere is an excellent training ground for engineers, designers, mechanics and manage/rs. It also encourages a spirit of innovation because decisions have to be made quickly and the cars are governed by a strict set of regulations.
The proven performance and reliability of Proton cars is a product of its long history of competing in motorsports. The engineering benefits are clearly seen and felt in its model range and the process is repeated as better road cars make better racing cars. This has been proven in the S1K with PROTON being the only brand to feature four different models as winners.
“At PROTON, we truly believe motorsports improves our products. It’s not easy to succeed in a race like the S1K as cars have to run flat out for nearly 9 hours, but our wins prove Proton cars have exceptional handling and are engineered to perform even when driven in such extreme conditions. To be both fast and reliable is very difficult so when we manage to achieve it we make sure what we learn on the racetrack is transferred to our cars on the road,” said Abdul Rashid Musa, Chief Executive Officer of Proton Edar.