Familiar with tarmac special stages in rallies? No? It’s where drivers demonstrate the fine art of sliding out of corners under full power. As for the “X”? That’s a term borrowed from autocrossing, a form of motorsports that puts more demand on driver skills on a tight circuit.
And we’re back at the Malacca International Motorsports Circuit (MIMC) on 26 July 2015, at Malaysia’s second international-standard circuit after the Sepang International Circuit (SIC). It is a 1.7km long, and 10m wide racetrack filled with S-bends and hairpins.
The previous event in April 2015 was held in a clockwise direction, but this time, the tides have turned and the event has been aptly named after the new direction. From the very first Tarmac Rally-X by DriveRite in January 2015, a few drivers found delight in the reversed circuit direction as they clocked even faster times.
Prior to the event, participants were seen busy preparing their cars for a day of fun and driving. Last minute adjustments, removal of loose items in their cars as well as placing stickers from the event sponsors, Whiteline, Ducatus, N-Sports N-Brake as well as F Tuned Racing.
Unusual for such a motorsports event, a Flaming Wheels food truck made its way from Kuala Lumpur in the morning and got down straight away to cook up a storm to feed the hungry drivers and their families!
Drivers were classified into four classes that are based on their car’s engine capacity and type. Class A was up to 1,600cc, B: 1,601-2,000cc, C: 2,001cc and above, and new for this event, a dedicated SUV category.
The main focus of Grassroots Motorsports isn’t about who is the fastest, or has the fastest car. It’s all bringing drivers from all walks of life coming together to learn a thing or two about driving fast safely.
With a single direction of the circuit for the entire event, everyone could get ample seat time to master the anti-clockwise direction of the MIMC. Also on hand were two highly-experienced instructors from Grip Academy to provide additional track driving guidance for newcomers, or those who want to shave off even more seconds. Also noteworthy, female drivers had a bigger presence at this motorsports event too.
Drivers were released onto the track in batches of four, grouped according to their skill level as well as cars. Marshallers then green-flagged each participant onto the track with a safety time buffer between them to prevent congestion. Drivers were also encouraged to swap places among themselves if they feel that they were holding other fellow group mates up.
Soon, the circuit was filled with the symphony of NA and Turbo machines, accompanied by the screeches of tyres as every participants made most of their track time to eke out every precious second and discover the limits of their rides, all of this exuberance showing for the morning practice sessions.
While some were busy chasing seconds, there were drivers who got into a race against themselves, or their friends instead. While there was an official timing system in place, some drivers were purely focused on maximising their own driving skills and car’s potential. After all, this circuit has a technical layout – putting more emphasis on driving finesse than raw power.
During the noon lunch break where everyone was busy wolfing down the delicious variety of meals from the Flaming Wheels truck, F Tuned Racing were busy preparing their demo cars, a Honda Jazz, Honda City, Golf GTi and a Ford Fiesta. All of them differ chiefly by the suspension type they were on, ranging from comfort to race-spec. They were driven by highly-experienced race car drivers and gave all participants “taxi rides” to get the feel of their suspension.
Then came the afternoon practice sessions, but however, the weather was not being the kindest. While it barely drizzled during the practice runs, a sudden heavy downpour during the tail end of the Time Attack session meant that the organisers had to put a stop to the final run in the name of safety. With no sign of the rain letting up, the event was fast tracked to the prize presentation ceremony.
Representatives from SP Line Trading for Whiteline, Unicla International Pte Ltd for Ducatus, N Powered Pte Ltd for N-Sports N-Brake and F Tuned Racing graciously presented the prizes to the fastest drivers in the respective classes. In recognition of their strong support for this exciting event, the sponsors were also presented a token of appreciation by the organisers.
The final instalment of the DriveRite Tarmac Rally-X series for the year will be held on 25 October 2015. It has been named the “Challenging Stage”. Accept the challenge? Visit www.driverite.sg for more information and to sign up!