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Tag / Formula 1

F1 season is dawn upon us again, and last in conjunction with the Formula 1 race at Sepang International Circuit, PETRONAS Motorsport put up a show at KLCC area for the racing fans a weekend prior.

I was lucky enough to be invited as a member of media to this prestigious event and got to meet Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg up close and personal yet again!

PETRONAS F1 Demo Run, 2014
PETRONAS F1 Demo Run, 2014

The roads outside KLCC was cordoned off with hospitality tent and spectator stands set up just for this event. If you’re a petrol head, this was something that you would absolutely love.

For those who are familiar with F1’s new regulation going with the 1.6 turbo engine for the 2014 season, this event was also one of the last chances to witness and to hear the high revving engine of the F1 racing car’s engine from 2013. It was absolutely thrilling and ear-drum shattering experience.

the 2013 Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 race car being prep
the 2013 Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 race car being prep

The event started with track inspection by drivers and riders while the technical team gets busy preparing the racing cars and bikes. The F1 car in a beautiful machine if you ever get to see one up close and personal. Every piece of body work serves a purpose, giving the car more downforce, dispersing heat, and so forth.

Stunt show by Aaron Twite and Nick Brocher
Stunt show by Aaron Twite and Nick Brocher

The first show that came on was the stunt riding by Aaron Twite and Nick Brocher.

They could do things on bikes I wouldn’t even dare on bicycle. The two experts did plenty of wheelies, stoppies, making donuts, and even standing on top of their heavily modified Triumph Speed Triple’s fuel tanks.

It was an awesome show of talent. I was very impressed.

Safety Car demo run
Mercedes DTM safety car demo

Next up was the Mercedes DTM safety car heading out on the street. While technically not a racing car, this is still a mean machine capable of exhilarating speed with an impressive exhaust note. I love the livery of Syntium gold with PETRONAS green.

The DTM car was driven by Daniel Juncadella, and a few lucky participant got a taxi ride in it too. I can only imagine the G force that machine can pull.

PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix bikes
PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix bikes

On two wheels, we had PETRONAS AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship bikes doing their rounds. They include PETRONAS Yamaha riders such as Md Affendi Rosli, Shariffudin Shamsuddin, Ahmad Fazli Sham, Abdul Muhaimin Roslan, Md Izrul Huzaimie Amran, and Md Azam Omar.

These are the names that could rise up the rank to compete in bigger cc bike categories in the future.

Pillion Ride session with professional rider Shahrol Yuzy
Pillion Ride session with professional rider Shahrol Yuzy

They said lighting doesn’t strike the same place twice, but I was lucky enough to be chosen as a pillion rider again (I did  last year too!).

Shahrol Yuzy was yet again our rider. We donned full leather and complete safety gears, then hang on to dear life while Shahrol rode the 600cc Supersport Yamaha bike up to 210 km/h right in front of KLCC.

There were light rain last year and I think we went a bit slower, the condition this year was perfect so he went all out. I sweated a bucket load, but the experience was awesome!

Asia Cup series race car
Asia Cup series race car & F1 drivers taxi ride

Another racing vehicle that got on the road was the Asia Cup series race car. That “baby F1” machine was not any less impressive.

A few lucky guys, including my buddy Willy, got to be passengers in taxi rides driven by Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes A45 AND Mercedes A250 respectively as well. It was surely an experience of a life time.

Nico and Lewis also demonstrated the F1 routine in PETRONAS PRIMAX fuelling session, the only time we get to see this up close and personal with KLCC as the backdrop.

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, after demo run with F1 race car
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, after demo run with F1 race car

The two professional drivers then showcased their skills on the F1 race car as well, racing down Jalan Ampang in front of KLCC and burning tyres doing spins right at the intersection of Jalan Ampang and Jalan P. Ramlee. An impressive sight to say the least.

Lewis Hamilton introduced as PETRONAS Primax's Technical Performance Consultant
Lewis Hamilton introduced as PETRONAS Primax’s Technical Performance Consultant

At the event, Lewis Hamilton was also announced as PETRONAS Primax’s Technical Performance Consultant. In this role, Hamilton, together with his team of experts will provide input to the PETRONAS team to continue innovate PETRONAS PRIMAX to deliver greater efficiency and performance.

PETRONAS PRIMAX fuel is the result of the knowledge, technology and innovation obtained through the PETRONAS Fluid Technology SolutionsTM (FTS), a formula that maximises engine performance, available at over 1000 PETRONAS stations nationwide.

It was safe to say that the drivers had a great week in Malaysia, as they ended up finishing One-Two in  Malaysia Grand Prix!

Exactly a week prior to the second leg of 2013 Formula 1 race at Sepang International Circuit, a few of us got invited to the PETRONAS Motorsports  Demo Run 2013. For the uninitiated, this is the only event where you get to see a Formula 1 race car zooming by Jalan Ampang right outside KLCC.

If you haven’t heard how those car sounds like, you’d be in for a treat.

PDRM traffic drill, KL's finest
PDRM traffic drill, KL’s finest

There was a bit of a shower right before the event got started, but thankfully the sky showed mercy and it got brightened up right on cue.

The first event on the program was the PDRM Traffic Drill. A few dozen traffic police arrived with their Honda VFR800 motorcycles and did a coordinated exercise drill while the commentator explained.

Military Tattoo Show
Military Tattoo Show

Then came the pretty exciting Military Tattoo show.

I was initially very confused with this, but it turns out to be a military motorcycle formation and some sort of acrobatic show instead. It was actually very impressive, 6-8 person on the stunt bike doing superman and hands free riding and everything your mom tells you never to try.

Then there’s also the jumping over 10 army personnel by a bunch of bikes. I wouldn’t want to be those laying on the floor for sure (nor the person doing the jumps to be honest). Pretty wild.

PETRONAS Yamaha CKJ and 600cc Supersports motorcycles
PETRONAS Yamaha-CKJ and 600cc Supersports motorcycles

Things then got a bit louder with the racing bikes on the streets. The two wheel machines were PETRONAS Syntium Moto Yamaha AHM & PETRONAS Yamaha-CKJ (underbone motorcycles), as well as the 600cc Supersports motorcycles (essentially the race bike version of the Yamaha R6 street bike).

The riders were doing wheelies, burn-outs, and even a bit of drifting on the road.

All these were happening at the same time we were watching the Melbourne GP on the various LCD screens at the guest/VIP tent.

I got to be a pillion rider on the Yamaha R6 race bike, thrilling experience
I got to be a pillion rider on the R6 race bike, thrilling experience (pics from TianChad)

Four lucky volunteers got to enjoy taxi sessions, with 2 in the Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 race car, and 2 other on the Yamaha 600cc race bike.

Obviously this is too big an opportunity to pass up, so I somehow managed to find the person in charged and got my name on the riding session. (which was going to be canceled initially but luckily got put back on schedule when the rain stopped)

I got cleared by the doctor to qualify for the ride, then put on full leather riding gears and got on the bike with professional rider Shahril.

Man, what an exciting ride that was. The dude showed no mercy and accelerated that bike really hard, followed by equally hard braking when we ran out of road. A quick sharp turn and then we do it again into the other direction along Jalan Ampang. Rinse and repeat 4-5 rounds and I felt more drained than if I was riding my own bike for an hour. I grabbed onto the pillion handle real hard, without which I’d have ended up on the floor.

Thank you Shahril & PETRONAS, that was the most thrilling experience on 2 wheels I’ve ever had.

they could change the tyres of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in a blink on an eye
they could change the tyres of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in a blink on an eye

Then there was the PETRONAS Syntium Team doing their thing, show casing how they can change the tyres of Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 race car in literally just a few seconds. The GT3 car did a few quick laps around the road too, what a gorgeous car, I actually have one diecast version at home from buying Grand Tourismo GT5 PS3 game, sitting on the rack in the study room.

F1 W04, the 2013 Mercedes AMG PETRONAS race car
F1 W04, the 2013 Mercedes AMG PETRONAS race car charming the crowd

Of course, what everyone came to see was the Formula 1 car, and man was that a sweet sounding machine. The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1TMrace car came out and did some laps on the road. Fast, sweet looking, and definitely loud too. Many gigabytes of memory card space were filled with photos of the F1 W04 race car that evening. Stunning car, would love to be driving in one (but I guess that will have to be confined to video game experience..)

KY, Ernest, Nazwan, TianChad, and Willy
KY, Ernest, Nazwan, TianChad, and Willy

We had a great time at the event. Seeing some of those machines in action up close and personal was definitely an experience any racing fan would not miss. On top of that, riding on that racing bike at over 200 kmh outside KLCC is something I’ll never forget, awesome day!

Exactly a week later, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finished 3rd and 4th at the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, scoring 15 and 12 points for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 team.

You can feel the presence of Formula 1 in KL around this time of the year ever since the inaugural F1 race at Sepang in 1999. The week leading to the race is often dotted with events that give racing fans chances to get closer to the cars and race drivers many of us admire.

The PETRONAS Mercedes AMG “Meet and Greet” session with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton was one of such premier events in KLCC.

Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 showcase at KLCC
Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 showcase at KLCC

While my office is just a short walk away and made getting to the event relatively easy, many fans traveled pretty far and braved the KL traffic to get a chance to be up close and personal to the drivers.

The 2013 Mercedes AMG Formula One car – F1 W04 were on display as well, looking gorgeous in silver and green. I think the much discussed “platypus” nose of the 2013 cars actually looked good on this one.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at KLCC concourse
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at KLCC concourse

At around 10 past 5, the drivers came out to greet the fans. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton genuinely looked very happy to be greeting the fans, and mentioned that Sepang is one of their favorite race tracks to be competing on.

Lewis Hamilton had a 3rd place finished at Sepang last year, I guess he’ll be hoping to improve on that record this time around.

meet and greet session, the drivers were signing autographs for racing fans
meet and greet session, the drivers were signing autographs for racing fans

After a brief Q&A session with the emcee, the drivers took their seats on the podium and signed their autographs on cards/t-shirts/caps and basically anything else fans requested. The line for the autograph session actually started forming more than 2 hours before the event and by 5 pm it was a huge queue snaking around the concourse area.

KY with Michelle, Tian Chad, Joyce, Gareth, and Ernest
me with Michelle, Tian Chad, Joyce, Gareth, and Ernest. Got the autographs too!

Lucky for me, I got to see Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton and flesh and got myself their autographs too. Best of luck to these two gentlemen on race day at Sepang. Go PETRONAS Mercedes AMG!