Malaysian MotoGP rider Hafizh Syahrin gets Sepang WTCR wildcard entry

Malaysian MotoGP rider Hafizh Syahrin gets Sepang WTCR wildcard entry

Hafizh Syahrin, Mitchell Cheah and Douglas Khoo
Hafizh Syahrin, Mitchell Cheah and Douglas Khoo. Photo: SIC

Malaysian MotoGP rider Hafizh Syahrin has been confirmed alongside Mitchell Cheah and Douglas Khoo as a wildcard entry for the FIA World Touring Car Cup season finale in December.

Syahrin, 25, announced his participation in the final event of the 2019 WTCR season at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

The event will be held together with the FIM Endurance World Championship for bikes, and Syahrin will take part in both events over the weekend, switching between bikes and cars.

Syahrin and Cheah will both race Volkswagen Golf GTi cars for Liqui Moly Team Engstler.

The media launch was also attended by the Malaysian Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Mohamadin Ketapi, along with 150 guests and 80 local media representatives.

“I strongly believe that sporting events like the Races of Malaysia should remain as one of the main drivers in the Malaysian tourism industry,” said Datuk Mohamadin Ketapi.

“Major sporting events like these have a degree of trickle-down effect that will benefit not only the tourism industry but also the general economy in Malaysia.

“For the WTCR and EWC events at Sepang, we are grateful and delighted to join forces with Tourism Malaysia as they kick off their Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign.

“The support we get from Tourism Malaysia goes a long way in ensuring that Malaysia stands out as the main destination for motorsports tourism in the region.”

Cheah had already been announced as a wildcard driver for the event, whilst Khoo will take his TCR participation to the highest level with a third wildcard entry. The Malaysian driver has raced in TCR machinery for the past five years, being one of the earliest participants in the formula in Asia.

Khoo races with his own team, Viper Niza Racing, and has competed in SEAT or CUPRA machinery since 2015. In 2019 he has raced in both TCR Malaysia and TCR Asia.

Sepang International Circuit Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Razlan Razali, explained that WTCR was one of the most popular options for the Sepang Circuit, with the three races to be held in daylight, dusk and night conditions under the circuit’s floodlights.

“For 20 years, we have strived to bring many world-class events to appease motorsports fans not only from Malaysia but also from the region.

“With the departure of F1 in Malaysia, we were tasked to look into other world-class events to include in our annual calendar.

“Through fan voting and further feasibility study, FIM EWC and FIA WTCR were the top two selected events.”

Eurosport Events boss François Ribeiro is pleased with the three wildcard names for the end of season event.

“Hafizh Syahrin is a household name in Malaysia and we’re delighted he won’t just be competing at Races of Malaysia, but truly embracing the double-header concept by taking part in both the 8 Hours of Sepang and the three races that make up WTCR Race of Malaysia,” said Ribeiro.

“We have followed Mitchell Cheah’s progress with interest in TCR Asia last year and ADAC TCR Germany this season and he’s demonstrating a great potential. What Douglas Khoo lacks in experience of international competition he’ll make up for with vast track knowledge.”