Prince Lubricants 2016 Caterham Motorsport Championship Races In Thailand
Employers in the automotive industry are always looking for young people with practical experience. Technicians are expected ‘to hit the ground running’ and make an immediate and valuable contribution to the business. This can be seen very clearly in the highly competitive motorsport industry.
So that students can learn the high demands of a race weekend TOC has entered into partnership with Caterham Motorsport. Caterham is known as the world’s most raced car and it made its debut in Malaysia in 2015, becoming the 12th country to host a Caterham Championship race series.
This year the Prince Lubricants 2016 Caterham Motorsport Championship has expanded to include a September event in Thailand at the Bira circuit, supporting the hugely successful Thailand Super Series.
In line with the Caterham Motorsport vision of being the most accessible race series in Asia, Caterham has for a second year partnered with TOC to help further develop the talents of the students and give them real practical motor racing experience.
Motorsport is all about passion, excitement, adrenaline, precision and teamwork. By taking the TOC students racing with Caterham they can learn quickly the high demands of a race weekend, giving them not only experience, but also a practical advantage, working as a team, often in stressful conditions. This fits perfectly with the TOC motto; Dream, Believe, Inspire – it really is when passion becomes profession.
Positions to be a part of the TOC crew to race in Thailand with Caterham were much sought after and the final selection included Suhaib Butt, Washim Joomun, Saravenesh Mahenthiraraja, Wan Zafirah Nurain, Kenneth Lee, Shashank Chandrashekara, Justin Wong, Mohammed Mallaeibasir, Marcus Ooi, all under the watchful eye of instructor Percival Manahan.
With this being Caterham’s first overseas international race meeting, especially as the team would be traveling with AirAsia as “Official Airline”, the students were given an extra special briefing.
When travelling the team would be wearing the Caterham/TOC uniform with AirAsia branding so it was emphasised that everyone involved in the Caterham Motorsport Championship contributes to the experience. It was important for the whole team to be seen as ambassadors and give a high level of service, inspired by F1 standards of professionalism, attention to detail and teamwork.
The first championship race outside of Malaysia didn’t fail to surprise as it witnessed some of the closest, most exciting racing ever at the Bira Circuit and with the track being quite narrow and short it was a perfect track for the nimble Caterham race cars.
In many ways the race weekend in Thailand was probably the highlight of the year, with great racing and camaraderie shared between the drivers and the team.
Teamwork, precision and timing were key important lessons learned by the students.
“Teamwork is the key to motorsport. If there is strong teamwork things can be done a lot faster, as time is everything. Perfection is another important factor. A lot of people notice the attention to detail which makes our team stand out amongst the others.” said Suhaib Butt.
“Everything should be precise and double checked” said Jooman Washim and added, agreeing with Mohammad Mallaeibasir that you should “always be on time, you can be early, but never late!”
“Always be on time, you can be early, but never late!” - Jooman Washim
Kenneth Lee aptly summed “that motorsport requires a great amount of teamwork, dedication and enthusiasm. At the end of the day, it puts a smile on my face knowing that I accomplished my job and made the cars and people happy.”
When asked what specifically they enjoyed, Kenneth Lee replied that “it was the couple of minutes on the grid before the race when the spirit of competition is high and the drivers and crew are ready to race. It’s a very tense but it’s the thrill that makes races a lot of fun.”
How will the experience definitely benefit them in the future?
“It has taught me a lot about dedication and teamwork. This will definitely prepare me for future opportunities” said Suhaib Butt.
“It was a great experience, specifically being a racing team working together towards the same goal. The more experience you have, the better the opportunity there is to get a job.” said Jooman Washim.
Responding to the pre-race briefing, Kenneth Lee confirmed that “it taught me how it felt to be a key person in charge of the car and the driver. I made sure the race weekend was just as fantastic as they expected. I also gained an insight on the technologies of a race car and it gave me an experience about the methods used in fixing a race car and how to run the race weekend.”
All of the team were very grateful for the opportunity to race with Caterham in Thailand as experience is everything in motorsport, and a special thanks go to Caterham Motorsport, Prince Lubricants, AirAsia, BRM, TOC and Pit Talk Asia.
The final observation belongs to Adelaine Foo, CEO and Founder of TOC:
“It is fascinating to see how these students have grown in confidence, initiative and the ability to work as a team, often in stressful conditions. What better way to learn and offer meaningful experience in the real world.”