Viper Niza Racing will field a three-car assault in the 2020 TCR Malaysia Touring Car Championship with principal driver Douglas Khoo leading the charge and the team’s presence strengthened with the participation of young racing brothers Gilbert and Freddie Ang.
The team’s all Seat Leon Cupra TCR line-up start their 2020 campaign with the opening two rounds of the championship on 17 and 18 January at the Sepang International Circuit.
Khoo finished 6th overall and 4th in the Cup Class last season, with Viper Niza Racing placed 4th in the team classification. With a single car entry, the team’s Seat Cupra rallied to 4th place in the manufacturer’s title behind Volkswagen, Hyundai and Honda.
“With three cars this season, we are in a stronger position to put up a formidable challenge and hopefully gun for the overall championship,” said Khoo who rejoins TCR Malaysia on a high note, fresh from competing in the inaugural WTCR World Touring Car Race of Malaysia in December and clinching a class win in the TCR SPA500 24-Hour endurance race in Belgium in October.
“As a Malaysian team, the expectations we place on ourselves go beyond fighting for a race win and the pride of flying the Malaysian flag high. This will be the team’s sixth year competing in local, regional and international touring cars. We have the cars, technical support and knowledge therefore moving forward will equally be about how we can effectively use these resources to help talented young Malaysian drivers who aspire to move up into the higher levels of motor-racing,” Khoo added.
The younger of the two brothers, 24-year-old Gilbert, joins Viper Niza Racing and TCR Malaysia with a sterling record in both karting and saloon car racing. In karting, he was the 2009 junior category champion in the Yamaha SL Class; double Asia Max Challenge and Rotax Max Malaysian Challenge junior champion in 2010 and 2011; and 2013 Asia Max Challenge and Rotax Max Malaysian Challenge senior champion.
Transitioning into saloon car racing in 2014 Gilbert won the Touring Production category in the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race champion that same year. He also won the 2015 Caterham Championship (420R class) and finished 5th in the GTC class of the Sepang 12-Hours Endurance Race, and in 2016, competed in the SP2 category of the Dubai 24 Hours Endurance Race.
“It’s exciting to be able to race again after a four year break (due to studies). I’ve been practicing regularly and I hope it is sufficient enough to be competitive. The goal of course is to become TCR Malaysia champion,” said Gilbert.
Elder brother Freddie meanwhile, is a championship contender in the current season of the Toyota Vios Challenge one-make series. The 26-year-old finished 7th in the 2013 Sepang 1,000KM Endurance Race; was placed 3rd in the rookie category of the JK Asia Racing single-seater series in 2011; finished 6th in the 2010 Rotax Max Asia and was placed 3rd in the Yamaha SL Cup in 2010.
“This will also be my first time competing in a touring car series and I’m really looking forward to it. So far I’ve completed two official testing sessions and my confidence has grown in the car. It’s definitely a lot different, a lot quicker than what I am normally used to competing in, the g-forces are greater and I’ve had to acquaint myself with the many different characteristics of setting up as well as driving a touring car. It’s really exciting and my aim is to try to be on the podium for all the races,” said Freddie.
“Competing in TCR Malaysia is definitely a steep learning curve for any driver, but I am up for the challenge and I want to see how I stack up against the other drivers in the series.”
With six races lined up in the opening three months of 2020, rounds 3 & 4 of the TCR Malaysia Touring Car Championship will continue from February 14-16 while the penultimate two rounds will be on 28 February to 1 March, all held at the Sepang International Circuit.