EXCLUSIVE: F1 HOPEFUL AFIQ IKHWAN’S FIRST EVER INTERVIEW MARCH 2013 PP 314/05/2013 (032387)
AN OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION OF MALAYSIA
AAM TOUR - KOREA THE LAND OF MORNING CALM
GODESTINATIONS MASTERING SEPANG
ALMERA REINCARNATION OF THE SUNNY
TRENDING TWO BLINKS THANK YOU
SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
THRIVING AGING? OR
LAUNCH OF LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR LP700-4, LEXUS LS, MINI ONE, HONDA NEW R&D CENTRE,BMW INNOVATION SHOWCASE, AND MANY MORE.
THE BEST IS ABOUT TO GET BETTER with our all-new digital edition. From everything about wheels and tailored specially for the “everyday person”, and almost anything with wheels and a motor. You’ll get all the excitement of print, and so much more, in our new digital edition.
AND THE BEST OF IT ALL
IT’S AVAILABLE ON APP STORE, ANDROID PLAYSTORE, WINDOWS AND KINDLE
Start enjoying GoDrive AAM on your iPad today. Go to the App Store and seach for “GoDrive AAM”. Download our digital version and discover all that you love about cars and motors come to life on your screen. Also available on:
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/// GODRIVE AAM • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
TABLE OF CONTENTS ///FEATURES
08 AAM NEWS : AAM FUN RUN PROMOTING A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE & FAMILY FUN
10 AAM TOUR : SOUTH KOREA
THE LAND OF MORNING CALM
GODESTINATIONS : SEPANG CIRCUIT MASTERING SEPANG
26 FEATURED : AFIQ IKHWAN
INTERNATIONAL LICENSE TO THRILL
38 INDUSTRY NEWS : NISSAN ALMERA REINCARNATION OF SUNNY
49 TRENDING : TWO BLINKS THANK YOU SHOWING SOME ROAD LOVE
We envisioned GoDrive to be a voice not only for AAM, but also for its members and beyond. As you read this magazine, please feel free to offer us your feedback, comments, suggestions, or even articles you want us to publish. ON THE COVER: MICHAEL SCHUMACHER AND MERCEDES GP PETRONAS IN 2011
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
/// GODRIVE AAM • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
08 10 13
AAM FUN RUN 2012 AAM TOUR: SOUTH KOREA CHINESE NEW YEAR ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN 2013
BMW INNOVATION SHOWCASE
ALL-NEW SUZUKI SWIFT
THE TWO THANK YOU BLINKS
VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG TDI
VOLVO & AIM COLLABORATION
GODESTINATIONS: SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX
FEATURED MEMBER: UNGKU SHAFIK
FEATURED STAFF: KT DEVI
HONDA MIROS ASEAN NCAP
LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR LP700-P ROADSTER
HONDA JAZZ HYBRID
MAZDA & FAWSTER MOTORSPORTS
SEPANG 1000KM (S1K) RACE
RAINER ZIETLOW’S RUSSTRALIA EXPEDITION
AN OFFICI AL PUBLIC ATION OF THE AUTOMOBILE ASSOCI ATION OF MAL AYSI A
WHAT WE DO DEFINES WHO WE ARE. IN OUR LATEST ISSUE, WE REVEAL HOW AAM HAS EVOLVED OVER THE PAST YEAR OF RELENTLESS RESTRUCTURING, SOME OF THE BEST TRAVEL DESTINATIONS, INDUSTRY NEWS AND MORE INTERESTING SCOOPS.
hat a year 2012 has been! From our humble beginning with Issue #1 last November, we are happy to be back with Issue #2. Being a quarterly publication has its pros and cons. The long 3 months in between each issue leaves us somewhat disconnected from our readers. In our digital world now however, staying in touch has never been more possible and fun! This 3-month “break” affords us time to talk with our readers, industry leaders and AAM members about what we can do better in the next issue and beyond. Also, our Facebook page has over 3,600 new followers in just 3 months and the response to our first issue has been pleasing. Our magazine is now available on AppStore for iOS and Android Google Play, Magzter for Android, Windows, Kindle and other mobile devices. So, we did put our time away to good use and what we discovered is not very surprising; a good majority of responses signalled that many are unaware about what AAM is. Now with many companies and car manufacturers offering breakdown response, towing and repair services, it is easy to dismiss AAM as “redundant”. We covered part of this story in our last issue, comparing AAM’s own breakdown services vs. the rest. But AAM offers more than just breakdown service and there are many reasons why it has grown past 80 years and has over 300,000 registered members today. As the official publication of AAM, GoDrive magazine is by far the most important link between us and AAM members in between the time we interface for membership renewal, or in the unfortunate circumstance of a breakdown assistance scenario! Better still, we are also followed by non-members from Malaysia and other parts of the world. Make this magazine your own. We envisioned GoDrive to be a voice not only for AAM, but also for its members and beyond. As you read this magazine, please feel free to offer us your feedback, comments, suggestions, or even articles you want us to publish. AS ALWAYS, WE WISH YOU HAPPY READING & SAFE MOTORING!
EDITORIAL TEAM AAM Wan Zaharuddin Wan Ahmad EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Melinda Ngew EDITORIAL ADVISOR Nurhaniza Ghazali ASSOCIATION LIASON CREATIVE Hafiz Idris CREATIVE DIRECTOR email@example.com Chan Phin Phin PHOTOGRAPHER firstname.lastname@example.org Aaron Gatapia GRAPHIC email@example.com MARKETING & SALES Chandra Ramasamy SALES DIRECTOR firstname.lastname@example.org MANAGEMENT Izzul Ahmad Kamar MANAGING DIRECTOR email@example.com Vinod Nair BRAND MANAGER firstname.lastname@example.org Imran Clyde MARKETING DIRECTOR email@example.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Loo Joo Ann Travis Chang Damion Chee Karan Dhillon PUBLISHING PARTNER ERSB (934424-w) 1227, Level 12, Block A3, Leisure Commerce Square, Jalan PJS 8/9, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor T: +603. 7865.8882 F: +603. 7876.1886
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THE NEW PARADIGM
EXCITING TIMES ARE AHEAD OF US. HOT ON OUR HEELS (OR WHEELS) SINCE AAM CELEBRATED ITS 80TH ANNIVERSARY LAST YEAR, OUR REINVIGORATED PASSION AND COMMITMENT TO THE ASSOCIATION AND ITS 300,000 MEMBERS ARE ALREADY SHOWING POSITIVE CHANGES AND RESULTS.
In our last issue, we highlighted AAM’s very own headquarters in Shah Alam, the new RM2mil AAM Automotive Centre (AAC) in Batu Caves, our revamped and modernized fleet of support vehicles, and more. Perhaps, the one article that struck a good chord is where AAM’s services are compared fair-and-square with those of its competitors, and I am proud to note that AAM stood out as the clear leader. AAM’s longevity is by no means a coincidence. We credit our achievements to four main pillars that have supported us since 1932. Firstly, we are the first and only body able to claim a solid 80-year track record for offering Malaysian motorists 24/7 road assistance and peace of mind. Secondly, AAM is also the governing and regulatory body for all motorsports in the country. Thirdly, we have been blessed with a truly committed and passionate committee and a loyal long-serving workforce in our rescue units across 20 branches nationwide. The final pillar is our unbeatable number of national and international affiliates, including the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK) and the Alliance Internationale Tourism (ATI). Our strategic affiliations allow AAM members to enjoy global access to similar services on reciprocal basis with 133 affiliates in 102 countries. As we embark on a new wave of rebranding and restructuring, AAM is now focused on welcoming more youths into its membership. We will be engaging with individuals from schools right up to young executives, in our continuing stewardship to advocate safe and pleasurable motoring in Malaysia. Investing our time and energy here is the right thing to do for the future of AAM and motoring in the country. AAM is simply more than just a breakdown rescue service provider. As the only non-profit organisation governing Malaysian motoring, AAM has been and always will be the sole champion for all Malaysians in roadside assistance, road safety and all social perspectives concerning motoring in the country. We are pleased that through this issue of AAM GoDrive, we are able to continue reaching out to you, not only through this magazine, but also through warm conversations on our website and Facebook page. It is a testimony of our perseverance to innovate, serve and rightfully continue to be your “No. 1 Motoring Partner.” With this, I wish you pleasant reading and a wonderful 2013 of memorable and safe motoring. Yours sincerely,
Y.M Tunku Datuk Mudzaffar bin Tunku Mustapha Chairman, Automobile Association of Malaysia
AAM NEWS : AAM FUN RUN
FUN RUN Promoting a Healthier Lifestyle & Family Fun R
unning has rightfully become one of the most popular fitness and recreational activities today. Easily executed with minimal gear needed, one can literally run anywhere and anytime without much fuss. Well, almost. Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) has reflected its mission and support on healthy lifestyle by organizing the pilot event, AAM Fun Run 2012. The soon-to-be annual event for AAM was held at the Laman Seri Business Park in Shah Alam on a beautiful Sunday morning, 16th of December, 2012. The event was organized in conjunction with AAM’s 80th year celebration and is one of AAM’s exciting new activities for its members. A soft cloud cover and a cool morning graced the first AAM Fun Run 2012. Around 500 participants clad in the AAM Fun Run yellow and black T-shirts convened at the registration area as early as 6.30 am. All runners were given special bibs bearing numbers for each category. Participants included AAM members as well as non-members. There were two categories for this run; Adults and Young Adults. Young Adults were divided into two sub-categories; school children between the ages of 15 to 17 and university students from 18 to 24 years old. The three top runners for each category bagged prizes comprising medals, electronic gadgets and hampers. AAM Chairman, Y.M Tunku Datuk Mudzaffar Tunku Mustapha symbolically flagged off the 5km run from a 18-foot flatbed carrier, the icon of the AAM fleet.
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
Later in his speech, he said, “Whilst our society is engrossed with their hectic pace of life, finding a balance has become quite a challenge. There is a shift now towards a more health-conscious living or a healthy lifestyle. It is this increased focus on the importance of exercise and healthy living that brings us here today to mark the 1st AAM Fun Run organized with the members’ health in mind – the building blocks for a good quality life.” In the men’s race, Mr. Ennahhayagam bagged the first prize with the fastest time of 20 mins 13 secs and Sue Ling Wong, an avid marathon runner, won the first prize in the Adult Women’s Category by clocking a winning time of 27 mins 14 secs. In the school children’s category, Arun Chandasekaran lifted his arms in the air as he reached the finishing line, clocking a winning time of 18 mins 5 secs, while Muhammad Fazly won the first prize in the university students’ category at 19 mins 5 secs. Another highlight of the event was the Member-Get-Member (MGM) Lucky Draw. To qualify, AAM members had to introduce 2 or 5 members in order for them to be eligible for the lucky draw.
The MGM Programme was open to all AAM members from August 2012 until the day of the Fun Run. Seven winners were selected from the lucky draw pool by Y.M Tunku Mudzaffar, AAM Vice Chairman Wan Zaharuddin Wan Ahmad, and AAM CEO Melinda Ngew. Some of the coveted prizes were an iPad, electrical goods, mobile phones and theme park vouchers. Another central program in the event was a road safety campaign run by Jabatan Keselamatan Jalan Raya Malaysia (JKJR). As road safety advocators in Malaysia, AAM and JKJR have intensified the road safety campaign to create awareness among road users. The road safety campaign targeted all road users and was specifically designed to enhance road usage ethics among drivers. JKJR sponsored 50 new helmets for motorists by replacing unsafe helmets which were either worn out or did not have SIRIM approval. Other activities which contributed to elevating the race atmosphere were the warm up session by a professional instructor, musical entertainment and an assorted array of food stalls selling various sorts of yummy goodies. PLUS and AIG were the main sponsors of this event. Other sponsors were partners of AAM namely Ace Jerneh, Ricoh, Me Huat Engineering, Nasyeed.Com, Petron Malaysia and GoDrive Magazine.
AAM TOUR : SOUTH KOREA
THE LAND OF MORNING CALM s beautiful as its name suggests, Korea is a stunning country steeped in natural beauty, vibrant culture and historical legacies, making it one of Asia’s most exhilarating destinations. The best time to visit Korea would be in Spring from late March to early May, when the weather is still pleasantly mild and cooling around 10-17 degrees Celcius. Hold your breath as you savour the breathtakingly beautiful landscape with the picturesque cherry blossoms in full bloom, enveloping the nation’s mountains and fields. Also known as “The Miracle on the Han River”, this phrase refers to the highly accelerated exponential growth of South Korea’s economy. The heartbeat of the nation is the city of Seoul, through which the Han River flows.
SEOUL Oozing richly with heritage yet harmoniously embracing modernity, Seoul is a city that has it all. Lose yourself in Seoul’s ancient palaces and fortresses, museums and galleries; delve in adventurous food tours; or treat yourself to some retail therapy shopping at the malls, or haggling at the market stalls. Immerse yourself in Korean culture at the Kyongbok Palace, the grandest place in the country dating from 1395; and the National Folk Museum which is also on the palace grounds.
DID YOU KNOW? THE TAXIS IN KOREA ARE COLOUR CODED
It’s a neat system. Hail a grey or white taxi. And you get a basic car. With a less experienced but still fully qualified driver. Choose a black cab. And you get a bit more luxury and a more experienced driver. But it costs you a few more Won. Whichever way you go the driver will probably be watching the TV in the cab. At the same time as driving you!
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Unleash the inner child in you at the Everland Theme Park, ranked the 10th best park in the world by the Themed Entertainment Association. Kimchi lovers can then look forward to The Kimchi School.
SHOPPER’S PARADISE Namdaemun Market is a shopaholic’s haven. The oldest traditional market in Korea, it is as popular as it is large. The market is on the Seoul list of Asia’s 10 greatest street food cities for the “hotteok”, a filled Korean pancake of many varieties. At Dongdaemun Market, you can literally shop till you drop. The huge commercial district is divided into 5 shopping districts – A, B, C, D and a shopping town; comprising 26 shopping malls situated over 10 blocks, 30,000 speciality shops and 50,000 manufacturers! This market is also on the Seoul list of Asia’s 10 greatest street food cities for the Korean snacks “Sundae”, a yummy sausage; and “mandu”, a delicious dumpling. For the avid shopper who prefers more upscale brands, go shop like no tomorrow at Myeong Dong fashion street, where chic brand names and hip clientele go hand in hand. Munching on gourmet street food while strolling along the walkways….. mmmm, bliss!
JEJU ISLAND A bucolic escape to Jeju Island is a must during your vacation in Korea. Located southwest of the Korean peninsula, the volcanic island is the warmest and wettest place in the country. Officially one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, Jejudo is home to the highest mountain in South Korea - Hallasan, a dormant volcano that rises majestically 1,950 meters (6,400 ft) above sea level. There are 360 satellite volcanoes around the main volcano! The people of Jeju have developed a culture and language distinct from Mainland Korea. The island is famous for its matriarchal family structure, where the sea-women “haenyeo” lead the family income from deep-sea diving to harvest marine products. Dotting the island are the most widely-recognized symbols of the island, the “Dolhareubang”. Literally translated as “old grandfather stone statues”, some are comical looking and some are as serious as grandfathers. A charming island full of allure, Jeju also offers you the beautiful Cheonjiyeon Waterfall. Be enthralled by this breathtaking waterfall where the name Cheonjiyeon literally means “sky connected with land”. Strike a pose for postcard-worthy photographs on landbridges formed by large volcanic rocks in front of the falls. Korea’s phenomenal natural beauty, historical legacies, endless shopping, quirky islands and array of food make it one of Asia’s best vacation spots ever.
Book a trip with AAM Travel Planners today! See tour details on the next page.
AAM TOUR : KOREA
Closing date : 5 March 2013
• • • •
• • • • •
For enquiries & booking :-
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
Tour code : GIT13ICN1-CX
AAM NEWS : MKJR ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN 2013
CHINESE NEW YEAR ROAD
SAFETY CAMPAIGN 2013
Minister of Transport, YB Datoâ€™ Seri Kong Cho Ha visiting the AAM booth.
Inspection by Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalanraya (JPJ) during the Kuala Lumpur Road Safety Campaign 2013 at Sg. Besi toll plaza.
AAM Committee Member - En. Ahmed Ismail bin Haji Amin distributing helmets to motorcyclists at the Kuala Lumpur Road Safety Campaign, witnessed by Datuk Hj. Salleh bin Yusup (left)
AAM promotions and display booth during the 2-day event.
n an effort to reduce the number of road accidents during festive seasons, the National Road Safety Council (MKJR) launched its annual Chinese New Year Road Safety Campaign 2013, which was held on 4 February 2013 at the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS), Kuala Lumpur. The event was organized by the Road Safety Department (JKJR) in partnership with other government agencies and organisations such as AAM.
The annual campaign aims to highlight the consequences of dangerous driving and through promotion of safe driving habits, to ultimately reduce the number of accidents and casualties on the road and develop a safe driving culture. AAM also played a vital role by promoting road safety through the promotion of AAM child-seats, road safety torchlight and compact fire extinguisher.
YB Datoâ€™ Seri Kong Cho Ha, Minister of Transport launched the campaign which was also attended by the Chairman of AAM Y.M. Tunku Datuk Mudzaffar Tunku Mustapha, Treasurer of MKJR cum Committee Member of AAM, En. Ahmed Ismail bin Haji Amin and Chief Executive Officer of AAM, Madam Melinda Ngew.
As a follow-up to this event, several state-level road safety campaigns were also held. The National Road Safety Council of Kuala Lumpur (MKJR WPKL), supported by the Road Safety Department of Kuala Lumpur (JKJR WPKL), extended the effort by organizing the Kuala Lumpur Road Safety Campaign 2013 at the PLUS Sungai Besi Toll Plaza, which also involved government agencies and other related companies. This event was officiated by Ybhg. Datuk Haji Salleh bin Yusup, Director General of Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur.
INDUSTRY NEWS : S1K 2012 RACE
SEPANG 1000 KILOMETER (S1K) RACE
SCORES FIRST S1K CROWN PROTON R3 RACING, TWICE OVERALL WINNER OF THE PRESTIGIOUS MALAYSIA MERDEKA ENDURANCE RACE (MMER) CROWN, HAS ADDED THE SEPANG 1000 KILOMETER (S1K) CROWN AFTER ITS DRIVERS SCORED A SENSATIONAL 1-2 FINISH IN THE SHORTER ENDURANCE RACE AT SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT ON THE 8TH OF DECEMBER 2012.
Introduced in 2009, S1K was created as a spin-off of the MMER on grounds of safety after the popularity of the 12-hour endurance grew immensely with participation of top international teams and highly-powered supercars; making it unsafe for the cars with smaller engine capacity. Proton R3 Racing won the overall crown in 2005 and 2006 in their Lotus Exige when the event was called Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race before it was rebranded in 2010 following introduction of new regulations and competition classes. At this S1K, Proton R3 Racing’s Syafiq Ali and Super GT driver Morio Nitta took their Satria Neo to victory; completing the 181-laps in 8 hours 25 minutes 6.699 seconds. What a conclusion to a memorable year for the team and Syafiq, who was crowned last month as the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) overall champion for the Malaysian Touring Car Challenge category, winning it with team-mate James Veerapan after winning four of five rounds this season. James, who partnered rookie Masedenial Ali Maskamal Khan in a Proton Prevé, took second after completing 180 laps in 8 hours 26 minutes 55.674 seconds; finishing ahead of defending champions Type R Racing Team in their Toyota Altis, which was gunning for a hat-trick after winning the inaugural race in 2009. Instead, it was the factory works team of Proton R3 Racing, which started from second place on the front grid, which celebrated victory with a grand double. First in 2009 and 2011 and second overall in 2010, Type R Racing, which boasted the awesome skills of Boy Wong Yew Choong, Lai Wee Sing and Soh Kee Koon, had to be contented with third place as they only managed 179 laps to record their worst finish in the event. Despite putting the Prevé machine to test in the competition for the first time, Veerapan and Masedenial were impressive to finish third in a field of top Malaysian drivers and two other factory works team – the Honda Malaysia Racing Team and Fawster Motorsports, which was supported by Mazda Malaysia. As in the previous three editions, the 2012 race again witnessed the lower Class 2 cars upstage their higher rivals in Class 1, which grouped cars with engines between 1601cc to 1800cc. The Class 2 cars with engines below 1600cc dominated the top 16 places.
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
The partnership of Naputt Assakul, Loo Chiew Koy and Umar Abdul Rahman in a Toyota Celica was not only the highest finisher Class 1 in 17th place; but was also the only competitor from the class to survive the 181-lap test as the two other entrants were forced to retire early. Flagged off at 12.02pm, the race had pole-sitter and 2010 champion Kegani Racing – featuring Kenny Lee and Australians Chris O’Shannessy and Jim Hunter, leading the race until Lap 30 when their 1800cc Toyota Celica encountered a left rear tyre puncture as it entered Turn 2; forcing an unscheduled stop in the pits. After taking some five minutes to return to the pits, it had to spend another 15 minutes in the pit garage for repairs. Thirty-nine laps later on Lap 79, its front bonnet flung open, smashing the front screen and forcing the team into early retirement. As the race entered its half-way mark on Lap 90, it was clear that the battle for the crown was between the Proton R3 pair of Syafiq and Nitta and the trio from Type R Racing Team as they exchanged leads until the final 25 laps. Pitting for the final time, the Proton R3 team managed to come out in front of their rival and they hung on to the lead until the chequered flag was dropped. JC Racing featuring Keifli Othman, A. Kesamoorthy and Akash Nandy finished fourth in a Suzuki Swift while debutants Honda Malaysia Racing Team (HMRT) took the fifth place through the partnership of Tengku Ezan Ley Tengku Mahaleel and Mohamed Farriz Fauzy in a Honda Jazz. Named as one of the pre-race favourites, the awesome partnership of Eddie Lew and former A1GP Malaysia driver Aaron Lim from Honda Malaysia Racing Team also experienced misfortune at this year’s race after their new Honda Jazz machine encountered electronics problems on Lap 40. That forced Eddie – a multiple Malaysian Super Series and Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race champion - to pit and it took almost an hour for the team to resolve their problem, effectively putting them out of contention. They finished the race in 20th position with 140 laps. The sole all-ladies partnership of Singaporean Melissa Huang and Siti Zirwatul Iradah of Brunei Darussalam from Red Bull Rookies Racing finished 13th overall with 161 laps; finishing ahead of the trio from Fawster Motorsports, featuring brothers Mohamed Nazir Nor, Mohamed Ridzuan Nor and Khairul Anwar Nor in a Mazda 3 machine. They finished 14th overall; completing 160 laps.
SEPANG 1000 KILOMETER RACE – TOP 10 FINISHERS Sepang International Circuit – 5.543km 1. Syafiq Ali/Morio Nitta (Satria Neo) 181 laps - 8:25:06.699 seconds 2. James Veerapan/Masedenial Ali (Proton Prevé) 180 laps 3. Lai Wee Sing/Soh Kee Koon/Boy Wong Yew Choong (Toyota Altis) 179 laps 4. Keifli Othman/A.Kesamoorthy/Akash Nandy (Suzuki Swift) 177 laps 5. Tengku Ezan Ley/Farriz Fauzy (Honda Jazz) 177 laps 6. Ahmad Faizry/Juzaili Jasmay/Kosmas Kalaitzidis (Satria Neo) 175 laps 7. Chin Hwa Lip/Admi Shahrul Ahmad Safian (Suzuki Swift) 172 laps 8. Gilbert Lim/Timothy Lam/Edwin Yow/Tan Yean Ming (Suzuki Swift) 168 laps 9. Desmond Khoo/Teo Jon Tatt/Chong Boon Kiat (Suzuki Swift) 168 laps 10. Sutan Mustaffa Salihin/Kok Pak Chiang/Siah Woei Pyng (Proton Gen 2) 168 laps
PROTON R3 RACING WON THE OVERALL CROWN IN 2005 AND 2006 IN THEIR LOTUS EXIGE WHEN THE EVENT WAS CALLED MERDEKA MILLENNIUM ENDURANCE RACE 15
FEATURED ARTICLES : VW TOUAREG RUSSTRALIA EXPEDITION
Rainer Zietlow’s Russtralia Expedition 2012
Melbourne - St. Petersburg
IMAGINE DRIVING 23,000 KILOMETERS THROUGHOUT HALF THE GLOBE, FROM MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA TO ITS SISTER CITY, ST. PETERSBURG IN RUSSIA, JUST TO DELIVER A LETTER AND A GIFT FROM THE MAYOR OF MELBOURNE TO THE MAYOR OF ST. PETERSBURG. ALL DONE IN A GUINESS WORLD RECORD BREAKING TIME OF 17 DAYS, 18 HOURS AND 49 MINUTES! UNBELIEVABLE? BELIEVE IT! 16
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
Meet Rainer Zietlow, the man who made it all happen. An avid adventurer and 4th time Guiness World Record holder, Zietlow set off on the 27th of July, 2012, together with his co-drivers Marius Biela and Vladimir Gagarin in a specially equipped Volkswagen Touareg TDI SUV. Conquering extreme weather conditions and rugged terrains of mud, rain and desert sand, the Volkswagen Touareg sailed them rather effortlessly through Australia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Kazakhstan and Russia despite a few glitches.
Zietlow’s most memorable moment of the epic adventure was the rickety wooden boat at the port of Dumai in Indonesia which transported their vehicle across the Straits of Malacca after their ferry had an engine failure. Despite the worrying condition of the wooden boat, they were relieved when their SUV finally arrived safe and sound in Malacca, ready to race across the continent. Zietlow, who is the Managing Director of Challenge4.de, praised the Advanced Diesel Technology developed by Bosch which proved to be a powerful ally in the most challenging driving conditions as they passed by almost all zones, including extreme heat, pouring rain, unexpected sandstorms and differences in altitude as well as punishing track conditions. Truly a man of the road, Zietlow has successfully completed challenging expeditions like TDI Panamericana, EcoFuel World, Asia, Transamericana, and Eurasia Tours in the past.
Zietlow has been using Volkswagen cars since 2005 when he set the previous record. He says that he travels without any spare parts or mechanics and engineers, hence he trusts only Volkswagen as it’s a very reliable brand. In fact, it’s the only brand that he knows can do such an expedition without having any problems! As for his next adventure, he says it’ll definitely be with a Touareg and he hopes that Volkswagen will continue to support him. 17
COVER STORY : SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
SHINING STAR OR FADING STARDUST? By Travis Chang & Vinod Nair
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
“THEY DID SUCH A FANTASTIC JOB WHEN IT FIRST STARTED, BUT NOW IT HAS BECOME, IF YOU DON’T MIND, LIKE AN OLD HOUSE THAT NEEDS A BIT OF REDECORATING. IT’S A DIFFICULT PLACE TO MAINTAIN, AS IT’S VERY BIG. IT’S STARTING TO GET A LITTLE SHABBY AND LOOKS A BIT TIRED.” - BERNIE ECCLESTONE, CEO FORMULA ONE MANAGEMENT That was the statement made by the most important man in the world’s most prestigious motor racing circus, on our once beloved and prized Sepang International Circuit (SIC) back in 2007. The USD120 million circuit, part of the brainchild of former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohammad, was launched in 1999 with much fanfare. Prior to that, Malaysia was no shy from hosting international race events, notably the World Motorcycle Racing (now known as MotoGP). In fact, SIC did incredibly well during the inaugural race in 1999, having won praises from both fans and drivers and most importantly took home the best organised F1 event of the year by the FIA. Instantly, Sepang emerged from a sleepy oil plantation town into a world class motorsports arena.
GODESTINATIONS : SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
12 years on and the circuit has somewhat turned from a shining star into fading stardust. More Asian countries are already hosting F1 in races, especially Singapore’s F1 night race which has effectively stolen much of Sepang’s limelight. This however, is not the only challenge SIC is currently facing. Among other problems include lack of funds which contributed from waning interest from the locals and that transfers to the circuit facilities getting shabby due to poor maintenance. Take a look at the circuit today and you can see the seats are in sorry state, the obsolete PA system which is useless in conveying information, leaking roofs during severe thunderstorms, and overgrown grass around the perimeter fencing. CEO of SIC Razlan Razali admitted that it will need another RM180 million to overhaul the circuit, which to be honest will not go well with the majority of taxpayers who still think it is a white elephant. However, despite of the signs that SIC is losing its shine, all hope is not lost for this circuit which was originally designed with the track layout shaped like a hibiscus, the national flower of Malaysia. As a world class race circuit it would be a monumental waste if no Malaysians utilize the facilities well. This 5.543km circuit was also intended to nurture the motorsports industry with expertise that support and bring this circuit into relevance, and groom new local talents to succeed as world class riders and drivers in various forms of motorsports be it on two or four wheels.
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
The SIC is also a platform to gather support among local fans and impress foreign teams that they have the potential to succeed in international motorsports. One good example with Malaysia hosting the MotoGP for almost 20 years, only recently did the wildcard entry for Malaysian riders give them the opportunity to shine in the international arena. Just Google “Zulfahmi” today and you will be amazed how the life of this Banting boy has changed from a young local chap into a world class motorcycle racer with tons of potential. Even our current F1 hopeful, Jazeman Jaafar wouldn’t be where he is today if such a world class circuit did not exist here. In 2007 at the age of 14 (when some of his peers were probably racing motorbikes illegally on public roads), he won numerous races in the Formula BMW in Sepang. That launched him into a racing career in single-seater races in Europe and we hope to see him in an F1 seat in the near future. Those who say that the SIC is only good to host rave parties should rethink their opinion too. Manufacturers and principals have utilised the circuit for various product launches or PR stints for local and international media, like how UMW Toyota did for the new Camry and 86 launches last year.
New tyre launches and defensive driving demonstrations in a controlled and safe environment is now commonplace at SIC. There is no other perfect place for such events or product launches in Malaysia apart from SIC. Some Malaysian companies, notably Petronas and Air Asia, continue to use F1 as a platform to promote their brand internationally. Petronas has evolved from a sponsor into an F1 team partner with Mercedes AMG F1 team. Air Asia garnered considerable global brand awareness too with their involvement in motorsports. That might not have been likely without the existence of the SIC. Looking into the grassroots level as an important level to grow talents in Malaysian motorsports, without a doubt, the SIC plays a paramount role here. In recent years, events like Saturday Night Fever (SNF), Zerotohundred.com’s TIMETOATTACK, and Sepang Drag Battle series promote motorsports in a conducive and safe environment. Events like these are accessible to Average Joes and encourage participation from local drivers, teams and privateers to showcase their mettle for racing and engineering. Endurance races like the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER) and Sepang 1000 Kilometer Endurance Race (S1K) are good launch pads for local talents to emerge, regardless if it’s the person behind the wheel or the mechanics and engineers behind the scene.
GODESTINATIONS : SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
Lastly, this may be subjective but in our opinion, the SIC has obtained what other new and modern circuits from other parts of the world don’t; a soul. At first glance, this is the first of many modern F1 circuits designed by Hermann Tilke (who also designed circuits in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Korea which are widely noted as dull and uninspiring by many F1 pundits) that offers good challenge on the curves and its signature two long straights. More unique however, is the interchangeable weather which continues to be the biggest challenge to F1 drivers and all other races. It may be a nightmare for the racers and their teams, but it remains a spectacle for the audiences. That makes this circuit odd but with an admirable character. Anyways, who wouldn’t like a little drama? Despite modern motorsports being much safer, deaths during motor racing can happen and will always be a tragedy. Sepang’s reputation for being an ultra-safe track was shattered when Marco Simoncelli lost his life in a tragic accident during the 2011 MotoGP race. While we mourn his death, there is somehow a new feeling surrounding this circuit. Sepang inadvertently joins the ranks of legendary circuits like Monaco, Imola, and Le Mans to name a few, where lives were lost and demands utmost respect from those who want to race it.
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
Malaysians may wonder about the relevance of the SIC today. So many critics continue questioning if Malaysia should host F1 races beyond 2015 when its contract ends. Regardless, sports always unite a country, just like how the late triple F1 champion Ayrton Senna gave fellow Brazilians many reasons to be proud of their nationality, and rugby (for an alternative example) uniting a torn South Africa back in 1994. There is no doubt that Malaysians too can be united via motorsports. Already, there are signs showing when Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin rode to his first ever podium at the 2012 Moto3 race in Sepang in front of over 77,000 supporters. A venue may be shabby but it can always be mended. But the proud and happy feelings of watching a Malaysian on the podium at international race events in Sepang is something the country can’t buy, even with millions of Ringgits. Already, there are more signs that SIC is creating new future stars like 11-year old Muizzudin Musyaffa, 22-year old Afiq Ikhwan and more. (Coincidentally, both racers named here are featured in this issue of GoDrive too.) With that, let us not dismiss SIC as fading stardust. Sepang has indeed matured into a national treasure we should all appreciate, support and preserve for the betterment of Malaysia’s motorsports and international acclaim. Viva Sepang!
By Damion Chee
For the inexperienced, it is completely normal to be intimidated by Sepang International Circuit (SIC). Safety is the utmost priority in all cases, and this can be attributed by two main points; which is a good judgement of speed and knowing where you’re going. Here’s a quick general look how.
4 5 2
TURN 1 & 2 The first S curve comes as a shocker to most inexperienced drivers, while charging down the main straight of Sepang, remember to keep calm as you prepare to slow down past the 200m marker. Stay on the left side of the track and prepare to turn slightly towards the apex past the 50m marker. Hug the apex and stay right. Once you are almost able to see the apex of Turn 2 form a straight line towards Turn 3, that is when you turn in to the left. TURN 3 A long sweeping right hander, the apex comes really deep into the turn. Stay slightly on the center of the track for this one, while inching closer towards the apex to carry good speed towards Turn 4. TURN 4 Slowing down begins at the 150m marker. A tight right hander with the apex deep in the corner, turning in late will allow you to gain a safer exit on the left, on top of building speed earlier on this uphill turn. TURN 5 & 6 The second S curve of the circuit, downhill - middle speed. Keep a good control of your speed as you begin gradual entry from the right side and don’t lift off. Edge into the apex of Turn 5 slowly and gradually shift towards the right into Turn 6.
TURN 7 & 8 Fastest C section of the circuit. As you would gain considerable speed after Turn 6, it is advised to begin slowing down at the 100m marker. Maintain a steady speed with minor corrections to the steering as you enter Turn 7 from the left, and slowly form a C as you shift from the apex to the left and begin entering Turn 8. Remember not to lift off during the turn. TURN 9 Hard braking is required for this tight uphill left turn. Braking begins from the 200m marker. Stay on the right side of track past the 50m marker and begin turning towards the apex. Clipping the apex late will allow you to build up better momentum to ascend towards Turn 10. TURN 10 Medium speed incline. Maintain a good rhythm as you hug the apex this turn. TURN 11 Medium speed decline. Slow down marginally for the entry as you keep left, and gradually turn towards the right for the apex that comes deep in this corner. Finding the apex can be tricky. TURN 12 High speed decline. Maintain your acceleration while hugging the apex on this left sweeping corner. Maintain speed instead if you are feeling uncomfortable or unsure. Once you’re confident enough you will not need to lift off. TURN 13 & 14 Most technical part of the circuit. Maintain a good speed as you clip the apex of Turn 13 early to set up for Turn 14. Good brakes will come in handy for this part as you will begin braking in a straight line past 13. Prepare for a sharp right turn after as the apex for Turn 14 is deep and will allow for a good speed build-up at the rear straight.Don’t overcook your break. TURN 15 Final turn and pit exit. Maintain a good braking rhythm from the 200m marker on the right side of the circuit. Transit smoothly from the right – left – right past the apex as you prepare to charge down the main straight to begin yet another lap of adrenaline fun! Keep right and signal right should you decide to return to the paddocks instead.
SIC offers Driving Experience sessions for the public. For RM300/session package (only applicable for Open Track Days), you get to bring and test your own car and driving skills on the same track driven by Vettel, Alonso and many more champions. Don’t forget to bring along your own helmet.. and probably your own group of spectators just for fun! For more information, visit www.sepangcircuit.com.my. 23
INDUSTRY NEWS : PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX
THE MOST ANTICIPATED RACE EVENT IN MALAYSIA IS BACK GET READY FOR ANOTHER EXCITING MOTORSPORTS SEASON AS THE 2013 FORMULA 1™ PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX RETURNS TO OUR SHORE THIS 22 TO 24 MARCH 2013! REVVING UP THE ACTION BOTH ON AND OFF-TRACK, THE RACE IS ALSO THE MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS’ FIRST HOME RACE OF THE 2013 SEASON. OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED BY THE MINISTER OF YOUTH AND SPORTS MALAYSIA DATO’ SRI AHMAD SHABERY CHEEK ON 29 JANUARY, THE 2013 FORMULA 1™ PETRONAS MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX ALSO MARKS ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE FOR THE COUNTRY WITH THIS YEAR’S RACE BEING THE 15TH EDITION OF THE PRESTIGIOUS EVENT.
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
Drawing on the potential of tapping on more than half a billion viewers from virtually all corners of the globe, the race at Sepang International Circuit will also be an opportunity for the Malaysian fans to get a first glimpse of Lewis Hamilton in action alongside Nico Rosberg with the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team. In addition to a high spectator attendance for the race weekend itself; fans will also get the chance to get up close and personal with the high-octane, high-tech world of motorsports at PETRONAS Motorsports’ demo run and rock away at the Twin Towers @ Live concert – all in the heart of the city. In building up the momentum and to celebrate the 15th edition of the PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix, PETRONAS Motorsports will be organising a series of promotional programmes and activities in and around the KLCC vicinity: 2013 Formula 1™ PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix Showcase @ Suria KLCC An integrated motorsports, entertainment and promotions programmes which include exhibition, motorsports demo run, merchandise sales and live concert. • •
Date: 16 – 24 March 2013 Venue: KLCC Vicinity
PETRONAS Motorsports Demo Run It’s time to bring motorsports to the streets with the PETRONAS Motorsports Demo Run. Featuring the participation of PETRONAS’ partner teams, the return of PETRONAS’ street feature in 2013 will also include the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team’s F1W04 in the hands of development driver Sam Bird & young Malaysian Jazeman Jaafar. With a great line-up of PETRONAS’ Talent Development riders and drivers who are competing all around the world, such as Hafizh Syahrin, Ramdan Rosli, Nabil Jeffri, Afiq Ikhwan, Fariqe Hairuman, Dominic Ang and Melvin Moh. It is a chance in a lifetime to take a front seat and get in gear with the Malaysian talents! • •
Date: 17 March 2013 Venue: Jalan Ampang (KLCC)
MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Drivers Meet the Fans Session @ Suria KLCC A traditional and annual event for the PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix, this year’s Meet The Fan Session will see Lewis Hamilton join Nico Rosberg at the PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix Showcase at concourse, Suria KLCC. • •
Date: 20 March 2013 Venue: Concourse, Suria KLCC
TWIN TOWERS @LIVE 2013 The Twin Towers @Live 2013 returns for the 3rd installation of the annual music entertainment programme featuring international artistes such as Demi Lovato, U-Kiss and Backstreet Boys together with our Malaysian artistes Mizz Nina, Atilia, K-Town Clan and Caprice. And not to forget Project Elementz, Dem Lepak Boyz, DJ Tatsuro and DJ Face! • •
Date: 22 & 23 March 2013 Venue: Plaza KLCC
For more information please visit: https://www.facebook.com/TwinTowersAlive 2013 Formula 1™ PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix Promotional Booth @ Sepang International Circuit Fans and spectators alike will also get a chance to join in on the festivities at the grand prix weekend itself with daily activities, merchandise and promotions at PETRONAS’ exhibition booths at the Sepang International Circuit! • •
Date: 22 – 24 March 2013 Venue: Mall Area, Sepang International Circuit (SIC)
For more information please visit www.petmos.com.my
FEATURED ARTICLES : AFIQ IKHWAN - INTERNATIONAL LICENSE TO THRILL
He’s down to earth... and fast!
TERRIFIC AFIQ IT’S NO SECRET THAT TOP MOTOR RACING IS A SPORT FOR THE ULTRA-RICH. HOWEVER, MERITUS GP DRIVER AFIQ IKHWAN YAZID DEFIED ALL ODDS WITH MUCH SUCCESS AND ACCLAIM IN HIS SHORT 6 YEAR CAREER, AND PROVES THAT ALL YOU REALLY NEED IS SPEED. NOT ALL TOP FORMULA DRIVERS TODAY REPRESENT THE CRÈME DE LA CRÈME OF THE RACING WORLD; THOSE WITH GOOD BACKING, BE IT MONETARY OR POLITICS, GET QUICKLY TO THE TOP. HOWEVER WHEN THE STARS DO ALIGN, A TRUE TALENT CAN ACHIEVE SUCCESS BY SHEER RACING SPEED AND CHARACTER. EVEN WITH LADY LUCK ON HIS SIDE, IT’S NOT ALL FAIRY TALES FOR AFIQ IKHWAN YAZID. MANY MAY NOT HAVE HEARD OF THIS CHEERFUL 21 YEAR OLD LAD FROM KAJANG. BUT IF YOU EVER DO GET A CHANCE TO MEET HIM, HE CAN MAKE YOU A BELIEVER EVEN WHILE STANDING STILL, AND TALKING WITH YOU, OF COURSE. WE DECIDED TO THROW THE “INTERVIEW RULE BOOK” OUT THE CAR AND GET NOSY ABOUT HIS LUCKY BREAK AND WHAT MAKES HIM, WELL… SIMPLY AFIQ.
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
FEATURED ARTICLES : AFIQ IKHWAN - INTERNATIONAL LICENSE TO THRILL
DO YOU REALISE HOW LUCKY YOU ARE? Haha! Yes, I do. I’m very lucky to have Petronas sponsoring my team and that I get to race in a formula car for another year. I aim to win the Formula Masters China this year and rake up more useful racing experience. WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO BE A RACER? I asked my dad for a go-kart when I was 8 but had to wait till I was 14 when I finally got one. He enrolled me into the Kelab My-Kart Selangor in June 2006. At my first go-kart race, I qualified 6th out of 32 drivers, and most of them were way senior to me. During a stint with the PFX (Petronas Formula Experience) in 2008, the Chief PFX Instructor, Norman Simon told my dad “If ever Petronas doesn’t select him, you just make sure he continues racing. Go find sponsors. Do it in Asia or even Europe.” That was when I knew racing was in me. My dad took the advice seriously and invested his savings into helping me keep racing. WHY THE PLANS FOR GT CARS IN 2014 AND NOT OPEN-WHEEL RACING? Racing has to be a career for me. We can’t afford to keep paying for drives forever. I have to make a living and get the returns on investment soon. Ideally, I’d like to race in the European circuit but an F3 race season there will cost £800,000. That cost is only for racing minus the travel, lodging and other miscellaneous costs. We have to be realistic. No local sponsor is willing to pump in that much funds without expecting returns. Motorsports having a niche audience here doesn’t help either. My team and I have weighed all options and GT racing is a viable option. For one, I’m only 22 this year and I’ve got plenty of years ahead. It’s good to get some racing time and hopefully good results to build my profile and maybe, just maybe after 2 years, I can seek sponsors who can take me back to competitive formula racing. Besides, GT drivers get paid rather well.
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
SO YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FUNDING. HOW DO THE OTHERS DO IT? If you do find out, PLEASE TELL ME! (with a big laugh) THERE’S A MYTH THAT PRACTISING ON PLAYSTATION HELPS. TRUE? Okay… I started off racing with my dad in GranTurismo 2 on a PSone! I was 8 then. We had some competitive moments between us. My dad used to be a racer himself, so it felt good when I finally started beating him. I guess practising on a gaming console does help! NO DOUBT YOU HAVE SPEED. HOW DID YOU GET THIS FAR? My dad used to race with my mum’s brother in local rallies back in the 80s. My entire family are virtually petrol heads, so racing is probably in my blood. I’ve also got a great “happy circle” around me, almost like how Jenson Button has his own wherever he goes racing. My dad has been my greatest believer and supporter. James Leong, the founder of KRS Motorsport gave me my first big break, guiding me through the Rotax Max Malaysia & Asia karting series in my junior years. In the car, I’ve trained myself to be highly attuned and notice changes in handling and performance even if the car is lowered by a mere 1mm. It’s almost like the car I’m in and I become one. As a team player, I also have the ability to articulate what I feel in the car into useful data for the engineers to do their part. We complement each other extremely well. DID ALL THIS AFFECT YOUR GRADES? (Chuckles) Well… I did study pretty well and my grades were OK. WERE THE KIDS AT SCHOOL ‘ENVIOUS’ OF YOU? I don’t think so. (Long pause…) But I remember that my friends were very happy and supportive of me. They were great!
WHAT’S YOUR FIRST CAR AND WHY? Alfa Romeo 147, red! It’s really sporty. Maybe it’s also because my family are big fans of Alfa Romeo. My dad was even the Alfa Romeo Malaysia Club president some time ago. It’s Italian; you’ve just gotta love the performance and design! YOU’RE QUICK ON TRACK. HOW ABOUT PUBLIC ROADS? The track is for racing. I get a good dose of it on track. I don’t need to speed when I’m on the road. It’s not right. It’s just dangerous. There are rules for track and for public roads; I follow them. I’m a whole different Afiq on the road. SO YOU’RE SAYING, YOU’VE NEVER GOT A POLICE ‘SAMAN’ YET? Uhh… Does a parking ticket count as one? WHO’S YOUR CHILDHOOD HERO? Ayrton Senna. (Okay… we paused for a long while after this answer) AREN’T YOU TOO YOUNG TO KNOW HIM? MOST GUYS YOUR AGE WOULD SAY SCHUMACHER. WHY SENNA? There are many videos of him and his driving on the net. I like his charisma, skills, aspirations and most of all, his quotes. Almost everything he says is meaningful and as a racer, I can relate to it. WHAT TRAITS OF HIS DO YOU TRY TO EMULATE? I don’t think I emulate any. I am my own self. I have an identity unique to only me. But there are similarities between Senna and I; the passion and will to win, fair and square. WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST WIN? WHAT WAS IT LIKE? I can’t remember… There were too many wins. Haha! I’m just kidding. I honestly don’t remember when I got my first win, but I remember the feeling like it was just yesterday. It’s like all the hard work and challenges finally led to something great.
WHAT DOES YOUR TEAM MEAN TO YOU? It may sound cliché, but my team is like my family. I’ve been with them for almost 4 years now. In 2012 for instance, I spent 8 months working and travelling with the team to over 6 different countries. I grew up in this team; from a karting racer to the formula car driver I am today. Peter Thompson, the Team Principal of Meritus.GP has had so much trust and faith in me and Firhat Mokhzani has been a great coach throughout my career here. Everyone in the team is like my brothers and sisters too. It will be hard for me to leave Meritus.GP when the time comes, but I will definitely cherish who they are to me. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF? I live by my motto “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” It drives me to want to learn more, try harder, push the limits and win. As a person, I don’t get mad easily… in fact, I don’t think I get mad at all. A famous British commentator, Ken Walker even gave me the nickname “Afiq Ikhwan Always Smiling”! This positive energy comes from within me. The great company of people around me makes it even better. HOW DO YOU COPE WITH PRESSURE FROM THE MEDIA AND WHAT’S BEING SAID ABOUT YOU WHEN THINGS DON’T GO YOUR WAY? Seriously, it’s racing. Anything can happen. You can win or lose. You can have a flat tyre or a blown engine. It’s a game everyone is in to win. There will always be those who don’t. That’s racing. My driving will say it all. (Ed’s note: Everyone in the room fell silent. This kid is way ahead of his time!) ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD SO GODRIVE READERS WILL KNOW THE “REAL YOU” BETTER? I love pets, especially cats and sugar gliders. They’re just so cute and adorable! If you look at my helmet, you’ll notice its design resembles that of a sugar glider’s head.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT AFIQ:
FEATURED ARTICLES : AFIQ IKHWAN - INTERNATIONAL LICENSE TO THRILL
He earned his international “C” license via AAM in 2007, before flying to India for his first kart race overseas. Meritus.GP had the number “88” available for Afiq. Coincidentally, “88” is his birthdate (8 August) and “8” also happens to be his favourite number. Talk about stars aligning! In 2011, he created history in the “JK Racing Asia Series” by winning a record 10 out of 18 races, 10 pole positions and 7 fastest laps in that same season. In only his second year at Meritus.GP, he finished as runner-up champion of the series, missing the title by a mere 7 points. When Petronas started supporting Afiq in 2011, they arranged 80 test sessions. Afiq sat in the pits for 10 of those sessions due to rain, but was fastest all other 70 sessions! Afiq has represented Malaysia to the Rotax World Finals karting event 4 times: UAE (2007), Italy (2008, Egypt (2009) and Italy (2010) before moving up to formula cars. At his final “Rotax Max Challenge” in 2010, he finished in the world’s top 20 out of 72 drivers. As a PFX student in 2008, Afiq was on podium for all 4 races and remains the only student to have ever achieved that feat; 1 win, 2 second positions and 1 third position. Afiq’s times during Meritus.GP’s tests in 2010 (that’s without driving a formula car for 2 years since PFX) were so impressive that Firhat said this to Afiq’s dad, Mohamad Yazid Mustafa,: “We have a problem… your son is fast!” Afiq then raced the Formula Pacific with the team, burning rubber and a huge hole in his dad’s pocket.
Afiq has no formal race training from childhood when most successful drivers start off before they are even 10. Considering that he only started racing 6 years ago, his statistics are mindblowing. But what impresses us most during the interview was the whole Afiq Ikhwan package; here’s a young Malaysian and an F1-hopeful who shows extreme humility off the track… and pure genius on the track. WORD OF ADVICE: Keep an eye on this kid. He’s that good! Visit these sites for more information on Afiq Ikhwan: http://www.afiqikhwan.com/ http://twitter.com/afiqyazid http://instagram.com/afiqyazid
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
FEATURED ARTICLES : MUIZZUDDIN MUSYAFFA
MUIZZUDDIN MUSYAFFA Aims High For 2013 Malaysia’s 10-year-old go-karting sensation, Muizzuddin Musyaffa Abdul Gafar, is aiming high for his second season in Italy in 2013. He has declared that anything outside the podium in all his races for the next season will be deemed as a personal failure. “I aim to finish on the podium in all the races next year. It’s going to be very hard, but I will go all out to achieve my target. Hopefully, I have a reliable kart and will be free of any accidents and injuries to allow me to fully focus on the races and my new target,” said Muizzuddin, who turns 11 on February 23, 2013. This young and charming lad has won two regional meets at Puglia Regional Championship and the Sicily Champion Cup in June to carve a name for himself as the first Malaysian to win go-kart races on European grounds. Muizzuddin also caught the media’s attention when he was named the Rookie Cup champion after finishing third overall at the 2012 ROK Italian Cup in September. Competing in the mini 60 category at various championships including the high-profile CSAI Italian Karting Championship, Muizzuddin did not manage to finish on the podium in any of the five rounds of the high-profile Italian series. Finishing 11th overall from a field of 56 karters last season at the Italian Championship, Muizzuddin will be competing in 2013 with a stronger confidence; armed with a full season of experience and the knowledge that many senior drivers would no longer be eligible to compete in this category. The mini 60 category is open to drivers aged up to 13 years old and Muizzuddin was competing against older boys and more experienced drivers on the track. Muizzuddin was only in his first year in 2012 under a three-year development programme, but he stunned his rivals when he led the race in the first half of the race. However, Muizzuddin’s season drew to a pre-mature end when he broke his right leg after an on-track incident during qualifying, which sent his kart flying in the air before landing on his leg at the WSK Cup Finals in Castelletto on October 6. Now fully recovered from the injury, Muizzuddin is all fired up to challenge for bigger wins next year as he continues his participation in the Italian Championship, the WSK Cup series, the Italian ROK series and other top regional meets.
Overall, I am satisfied with my performance this season. “Overall, I am satisfied with my performance this season. As you know, all the top karters in Europe compete in the Italian Championship and the WSK Cup series. It is very competitive and I would like to thank my team for providing me a very good kart to race with.” “It was very unfortunate for me to have that accident in Castelletto and unable to compete in my last three races. I had a fracture in my right leg and I was told to rest for a month. It was a painful experience; but I must say it gave me many priceless lessons about motor racing.” “But, I am back now and will try to win races next year,” said Muizzuddin, who competes in Italy under the care of the high-profile top Italian racing outfit, Gamoto Racing Team. At home, he is managed by Kelab Sukan Bermotor Prima, which is run by Zainuddin Radzi, a prominent figure in Malaysia’s gokarting scene. Muizzuddin undergoes a systematic training programme in Italy under Gamoto Racing. Apart from honing his driving skills, his regime includes a proper diet, intensive gym training to build and maintain fitness, and swimming too. “Living in Italy is very, very different from Malaysia. The daily routine is boring, but the racing part is very, very exciting,” added Muizzuddin, who lives in Sicily in a rented apartment with his mother and is attending a local school there. “My father is giving me three years to fully concentrate on my dreams to be a race driver. He is very serious about this. That’s why he decided that I should compete in Europe to give me exposure to world class competition. I aim to do my best to make him and my mom proud,” added Muizz.
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
AAM NEWS : UN DECADE OF ACTION
UNITED NATION’S “DECADE OF ACTION FOR ROAD SAFETY 2011-2020” AAM ENTRUSTED BY FIA IN MALAYSIA THE VISION
ROAD TRAFFIC DEATHS
lives could be saved on the world’s roads during Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020
people die on the road every day
countries launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 - 2020
fficially launched on 11 May 2011 in more than 100 countries, the Decade of Action for Road Safety has the official goal of ‘stabilising and then reducing’ global road traffic fatalities by 2020. This global challenge is being championed by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and was discussed in detail prior to its launch at the FIA Conference Week in Kuala Lumpur, 21 March 2011, hosted by the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM). The conference was attended by 180 automobile club delegates from over 60 countries. Annually, nearly 1.3 million people die on the roads and more than 50 million are injured. The human costs are profound and the economic cost is staggering, more than $100 billion in developing countries. Here in Malaysia, the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) works very closely with various government and semi-government bodies and GovernmentLinked Companies to constantly improve road safety in Malaysia in line with the UN’s call for a Decade of Action for Road Safety. They include the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, JPJ, JKJR and the Royal Malaysian Police. The Ministry of Works together with the Ministry of Transport are responsible for road development and road safety activities in Malaysia. Road accidents in Malaysia have been increasing on an average rate of 9.7% per annum over the last 3 decades. In his keynote address, AAM Chairman Y. M.
Tunku Datuk Mudzaffar said “A significantly growing economy demands more cars, transportation of any kind, better and longer roads connecting the country. Total length of roads in Malaysia has increased from 11,161km in the early 70’s to 71,814km in 2005.” There is hope for betterment, though. The trends of road fatalities have dropped since 1997 after the Government established a 5-year national road safety target to reduce road accident deaths by a targeted figure of 30% in window of 3 years. Road injury prevention programmes are the crux in order to defeat this growing epidemic of road death and injury. Reducing road casualties and fatalities will reduce suffering, unlock growth and free resources for more productive use. This international collaboration focuses on 5 pillars; road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users and post-crash response. Global Road Safety ambassador Datuk Michelle Yeoh is currently on an aggressive tour around the world to spread awareness of the campaign and garner support from world leaders for road safety advocacy. For more information or to make a pledge, visit www.makeroadssafe.org
FEATURED MEMBER : UNGKU SHAFIK
AAM Through The Eyes Of A Lifetime Member with Ungku Shafik
PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. In 1966, I joined the Merchant Navy (Blue Funnel Line) in Liverpool. After a year, I came back and joined the Royal Malaysian Navy and was based in Woodlands, Singapore. Back then, I used to drive an MG Midget. It was a fun car to drive!
AN AAM MEMBER SINCE 1976 AND THEN BECOMING AN HONORARY LIFETIME MEMBER OF AAM IN 1983, MR. UNGKU SHAFIK BIN UNGKU AHMAD HAS MANY YEARS OF FOND MOTORING MEMORIES WITH AAM. WE WERE HONOURED TO HAVE HIM SHARE HIS THOUGHTS AND STORIES ABOUT AAM AND WHAT BEING A MEMBER MEANS TO HIM. 37 YEARS OF MEMBERSHIP. PERHAPS MANY READERS AREN’T EVEN AS OLD AS THAT. IT’S A LARGE NUMBER, WHICH MAKES HIM ONE OF THE BEST SPOKESPERSONS AMONG AAM MEMBERS. HERE, HE HAS MANY THINGS TO SHARE AND BOY, IS HE OUTSPOKEN AND OPINIONATED TOO! WE WERE DELIGHTED WITH MANY OF HIS ANSWERS DURING OUR 2-HOUR LONG INTERVIEW IN HIS HUMBLE HOME TOGETHER WITH 11 OF HIS CATS IN THE LIVING ROOM. HERE ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THAT INTERESTING INTERVIEW.
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
WHY DID YOU SIGN UP TO BE A MEMBER OF AAM? I guess it’s because I was a member of the AA in the UK. When I came back, I was proud and happy that Malaysia had its own AA and so I signed up. After all, cars back then tend to breakdown more often and AAM was the only one offering breakdown services at that time, so it made sense. WHAT MADE YOU UPGRADE TO LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP? Since I’ve met the minimum requirement* and paid annual membership fees for so many years, I did the math and it made sense to pay RM500 for a lifetime membership. Today, that’s worth RM2,000. Also, I don’t have to pay the RM75 annual fee. So my investment has paid off many times over by now. Besides, carrying an AAM Lifetime Membership card is a big deal when you call up for assistance; they’d probably take me more seriously! (Ungku Shafik says this with a big hearty laugh) *To be eligible for Lifetime Membership, one has to be an Ordinary Member for at least 5 years. WHY DO YOU SAY SO? Well, lifetime members have the right to vote during AAM’s AGM meetings and are eligible to be on the board. Ordinary members don’t. So if you’re picking up a distress call from a lifetime member, you’d better be nice for he/she could be your next boss!
Mr. Ungku Shafik with a portrait of his father, who was also an AAM member.
DURING YOUR 37 YEARS OF MEMBERSHIP, WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE AAM MOMENT FOR YOU? It was somewhere in the 80’s. My 2nd-gen Honda Civic had a burst radiator pipe when I was in Singapore. At that time, being a member of AAM also entitles you to get assistance from the AAS (Automobile Association of Singapore). They were very helpful. I didn’t want to go to a Honda workshop in Singapore and wanted to rush back to JB. The AAS guy helped me reattach the hose, fill up the water and told me “This is good enough to last until JB.” It did. WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING A MEMBER BACK IN THE 70’S AND 80’S? Obviously, things were different back then. Those days, AAM membership benefits were abundant. Even carrying the AAM membership card and having that sticker on your car… it was a privilege and many people appreciated it. My father was an AAM member before me. Later on, I made my 4 children register as members too. It’s a good thing to have and you’ll never know when you’ll need it. HOW HAS AAM EVOLVED SINCE THEN? Today, many insurance agencies and carmakers are offering breakdown services too. Some new breakdown service operators have emerged as well. I see why people think AAM’s incentives are almost the same. Perhaps people don’t see the importance and the relevance of being an AAM member.
AAM has an important mission now to let people understand what it stands for and why people should sign up IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT CAN AAM DO TO IMPROVE? I think AAM has to recapture and preserve the prestige and popularity it once enjoyed. To do this, they need to create new value for its members. New and passionate lifetime members should be welcomed into the AAM leadership, so as to provide fresh and innovative ideas to strengthen AAM’s overall operations and services. AAM needs to harness the benefits of information technology too to make members’ transactions more convenient. For instance, perhaps a mobile app where we can renew our membership, make payments, or even request for assistance with just our fingertips instead of calling or even going over to AAM’s office. I am happy that AAM is now revamping its service culture and also paying more attention to encouraging women drivers to sign up as they can benefit the most from AAM’s professional service. Women drivers are at most risk when their cars breakdown. I NOTICE YOU HAVE AN IPHONE AND AN IPAD. HOW DO YOU KEEP UP WITH THE TECH WORLD? Yes.. yes! I am very tech-savvy for my age. I bought my first computer back in the 70’s
which used tapes instead of floppy disks. No hard drives either. I’ve never lost touch of tech. Things are so easy these days with the internet and I do most of my transactions online. That’s how I know that GoDrive AAM is also available on AppStore! WHY DO YOU HAVE 11 CATS? Initially, I had 2 cats. My kids easily take pity on any stray cat that they see helpless on the streets and then they’ll bring these cats home for temporary shelter. Well, most of them never left, as you can see. You can say our home is like an “AAM for cats” too! AAM RECENTLY MARKED ITS 80TH ANNIVERSARY WITH A HOST OF SERVICE UPGRADES. IS AAM ON THE RIGHT TRACK? Certainly. The new fleet of flatbeds and tow trucks is a good step forward. As I said before, AAM’s push to encourage membership among women is very good too, given the current safety concerns among women drivers. It was a pleasure to read about AAM’s big push to improve its branding and services in the previous issue of GoDrive, and I’m sure AAM and its members will benefit from more innovative service upgrades in the coming years. 35
FEATURED STAFF : KT DEVI
GoDrive has a heartwarming chat with one of AAM’s longest serving employee
28 Years & counting!
WHEN DID YOU JOIN AAM AND WHY DID YOU DO SO? I first joined AAM’s IT department back in April 1985, as computerisation had been my field of study. But my love for interacting with people drove me to apply for a transfer to the Customer Service Centre at Jalan Yong Shook Lin. After 6 years there, I went back to the IT department, but I still did not stomach it well. I needed to see and talk to people! Haha! So not long after, I happily went back to assisting members at the AAM HQ in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng. 28 YEARS IS A LONG TIME. WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN CONTRIBUTIONS TO AAM? Long time indeed! Yet it feels like it was just yesterday. Well, after my experience running the customer service centres, I was promoted to Branch Executive and entrusted to help set up AAM’s new branch at Right Angle, Section 14 PJ. For 6 more years, I managed this branch with 2 staff. Back then, AAM was very active in assisting members with a wide range of services including hotel bookings, road tax and insurance renewals, International Drivers’ and motorsports license applications, etc. Parking problems at Right Angle began to cause inconvenience for our members, and so we moved to our current PJ office at PJ Industrial Park along Jalan Kemajuan in 1998. In 2002, AAM summoned me again to help set up a new branch at Taipan USJ. Currently, I manage both PJ and Subang branches, both of which are consistently AAM’s highest revenue generating branches.
KT DEVI COMES ACROSS AS A FRIENDLY AND EASY-GOING LADY. WE WARMED UP INSTANTLY TO HER GENTLE DEMEANOR AND CALM, SOOTHING VOICE. THIS CHARMING LADY HOLDS A DIPLOMA IN BUSINESS RESOURCES SPECIALIZING IN COMPUTERIZATION, BUT SHE SPEAKS OF HER YEARS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE WITH LOADS OF ENTHUSIASM. CURRENTLY THE BRANCH MANAGER FOR PJ AND SUBANG BRANCHES, SHE POINTS OUT THAT SEEING CUSTOMERS “VERY SATISFIED” IS ALL THAT MATTERS, NOT SO MUCH THE MONEY. CURIOUS TO FIND OUT WHAT HAS MADE HER LOYAL TO THE SAME COMPANY FOR ALMOST THREE DECADES, WE SIT DOWN FOR A TID AND TAD WITH HER.
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DO YOU FIND YOUR JOB ALMOST ROUTINE? It may seem so after 28 years here, but you know what….. not really! There are new surprises and challenges every day, and it’s always refreshing. This keeps me motivated and committed to give my best. Customer service is really interesting as there are all sorts of customers and different requests and challenges all the time. Interacting with the members keeps my passion up for delivering the best service quality possible. Also, I’m a target-oriented person, and I take pride in the work that my team has produced over the years in meeting their objectives year after year. WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING? Basically, it is my love for interacting with people. I like meeting and talking to people and helping them out. I enjoy the challenge of finding the right solution at the right time to assist my customers speedily. I get satisfaction when I see my customers satisfied. And when I get a sincere word of thanks at the end of the day, I feel so glad. It really is a priceless feeling! Beats looking at the computer screen all day.
CAN YOU SHARE WITH US YOUR SECRET TO PROVIDING EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE? No secret, really! But if you insist…. the secret of good service longevity is all about team dedication and resourcefulness.
YOU WOULD BE THE BEST PERSON TO BE ASKED, WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU SEE AAM FACING TODAY? AAM faces very stiff competition today. Many services that AAM pioneered are being replicated by others now, especially road tax, insurance & license renewal services. Even roadside assist services are being offered by insurance companies, car manufacturers and privateers.
In my current team, I have the privilege of working with 3 very experienced AAM personnel as well; one who has served for 33 years, another 13 years and another 11 years. We maintain professionalism and discipline at all times, and that means no chatting, no web surfing, no Facebooking, etc. Every second we spend is on attending to customers’ needs and looking for ways to provide more value to customers.
The challenge now is in convincing people that AAM is their “No. 1 Motoring Partner”. We need to tell and convince people all over that AAM has been around for 80 years and is the most experienced in its core services. Also, AAM is the only FIA endorsed motoring body in Malaysia. Many people are not aware that AAM is an international body, and being an AAM member means you are also entitled to the same array of services offered by AAs in over 90 countries.
As a result, many members have continued to renew their membership year after year and patron our branches, even if they have shifted to another faraway place. Customer loyalty is something that no amount of money or promotional ads can buy, and may I humbly add that I am proud to have achieved this. It is because of the immense dedication of my fellow colleagues, both the PJ and Subang branches have won many awards and accolades over its years in operation.
For instance, if you happen to be in Singapore or even in the UK, you’ll be afforded the same benefits as long as you’re a member of the AAM. No other competitor of AAM can rival these range of reciprocal services and benefits, internationally, all at a cost of RM75 per year for membership, which by the way is among the lowest compared to other AAs in the world today.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST “AAM CUSTOMER SERVICE” STORY? Let me see. There’s so many, it’s not easy to single out one particular story to tell. There is a member though, whom I have served for over 20 years; he calls whichever branch I go to as he says he is very happy liaising with me. The good service relationship started when AAM helped out with the registration of his car that was imported from Germany. I guess the ease of transaction and the friendly service won him over, and he continued to use AAM’s many services till today. It’s all about having the right attitude. We have numerous other customers like him too.
Ultimately, we will have to continue providing the best service we can because at the end, it is our service that will determine our future. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SAY TO OUR FELLOW MEMBERS & READERS? From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of my team, I would like to say a big “thank you” for all the support, especially our dear members who patron AAM’s Subang and PJ branches. It has been an honour for me to be of service to all of you all these years and I look forward to the years ahead as AAM continues to revamp its services to serve you better.
FEATURE STORY : NISSAN ALMERA
THE LONG-AWAITED REINCARNATION OF THE SUNNY Nissan is finally back with
AS THE “ARCHITECT” OF THE MATRIX SAID, “IT HAS HAPPENED MANY TIMES BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN.” EACH TIME FUEL PRICES HIKE UP DRAMATICALLY (OR HOUSEHOLD INCOMES GO DOWN), CONSUMERS WILL DEMAND FOR CHEAP-AND-THRIFTY VEHICLES. IN THE MID-80S WHEN MALAYSIA SUFFERED A CRIPPLING RECESSION, ONE UNSUSPECTING CAR BECAME THE UNLIKELIEST HERO OF THAT ERA; THE EVERGREEN NISSAN SUNNY. YES, MOST OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER THAT ERA WILL FONDLY GIGGLE AT THE SIGHT OF THE INFAMOUS “AWAS: ABSORBER BUMPER” SIGN. THOSE WHO OWNED IT THOUGHT THEIR SUNNY’S BACK WAS INVINCIBLE. OTHERS THOUGHT TWICE BEFORE COMING CLOSE TO ONE!
What really made the Sunny (or 130Y as its model number) a true legend of its time is its attractive price, super-reliability and most of all its incredible fuel economy. With a selling price of approx. RM18,500 and an average fuel consumption of 6 sen/ km (back then fuel cost RM0.80/l), it was a nobrainer for the hardcore budget-minded car buyers.
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OUR TEST CAR CLOCKED A REMARKABLE 18.68KM/L
To achieve all these plus-points, some things had to give; interior quality was shod with cheap plastic, the light weight made it float on highways, styling was pretty old and comfort was so-so. Nissan came out with a Sunny Extra to address some of these issues later on and it became an instant hit! When the Nissan Sunny Extra 130Y (never again did a Nissan have a name that long, or did it?) was finally replaced with the Sentra back in 1988, many hearts were broken and confused. For one, the same model across the Causeway was still badged as the Sunny; so why call it Sentra here? Worst still, it had a 1.5l engine that was not as thrifty as its predecessor’s spunky 1.3l power plant. As the economy the world over picked up, so did the appetite for style and power. Over the years to come, the Sentra grew bigger and even more powerful. Fuel-efficiency remained better than its main competitors’, but it was not its core attribute.
THE COMEBACK KID
For a long period, the Sunny 130Y made its comeback in the early 90s due to demand. People were willing to forego looks and popular new technologies (i.e. fuel-injection & 16-valve) for something practical and reliable. Sentra after Sentra, Nissan seem to have wandered off into mediocrity, choosing curvy aerodynamic cues and larger displacements to appeal to its aging fan base, challenging the likes of the Corolla and Civics. Let’s face it; they were the big 3 C-segment sedans of the 80s and well into the 90s. Now, the latter two have firmly established itself as the must-have among new yuppies. Where does the Sentra fit in? Now, Nissan’s got both the Latio and Sylphy in the mix, even Nissan fans are reasonably confused.
BACK TO ITS ROOTS
We are glad to say, Nissan finally got it right this time. Going back to the basic formula that made Sunny such a huge success, the Almera is what the Sentra should have been a decade ago; affordable, thrifty and practical. On a plus side, it has got some “cool” factor to it too, given its price tag starting from RM66,800. The Almera is built on an all-new global “V” (versatile) platform which utilizes a lightweight yet rigid body. Powered by Nissan’s latest 1.5-liter HR15DE four-cylinder engine featuring Continuously Variable-valve Timing Control (CVTC) which offers impressive fuel efficiency of 14.9km/l for automatic transmission and 15.9km/l for manual transmission (combined cycle based on Nissan testing) as well as strong drive. It also boasts the best-in-class legroom and boot space.
HANDS ON IMPRESSION
During our Eco-Challenge run from KL to Seremban, our test car clocked and remarkable 18.68km/l or 5.35l/100km in mixed driving conditions. That’s almost hybrid consumption territory! That being said, power is not a priority in the Almera. It is terribly evident when you try to pass a car on the highway. Its pick up, simply put, is sluggish and boring. But hey, if it is power you’re looking for, there are many other options out there, and the Almera is unpretentious
when it does best what it was designed to do; be large (can’t understand why Nissan classes it as B-segment when it’s that huge!), modern and above all, super fuel-efficient. Almera scores pretty well on the interior build quality and ergonomics. Lots of pretty gadgets to keep you happy, including an LCD screen on the dash that handles CDs, DVDs, USB, SD-Card, GPS, rear-camera, radio and more. Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) is extremely low, almost on par with D-segment cars. Most striking of all is its long legroom at the rear, just slightly over 0.6m! Honestly, most of us would rather sit at the back than in front; the ride was silky smooth at best. But the rear seats oddly enough do not split like in other popular models. Nissan contends that it does not need to, given its huge boot space (We will have to let consumers decide this one for themselves). The front seats are rather comfortable, but you will notice how thin the backing is when someone behind decides to stick their knees out at your back! Anyways, at 0.6m distance, that should not be a regular occurrence. Handling wise, there is not much to shout about. Brakes felt pretty crisp, perhaps a little too much. The steering is very light to the point of it feeling like you are working on a console-game. It all felt good on the highway, but its more-thanusual understeer is painfully obvious when you muscle it through the curves on old trunk roads.
COMFORTABLE & PREDICTABLE Nissan does not say much about its choice of transmission for the auto; an obsolete 4-speed torque converter. Their argument is that it is a tried-andtested and reliable solution, cheaper to maintain, and that its tall gear settings make up for its shortcomings with big fuel savings in the long run. It makes sense, but it clearly spells “no power” with the transmission’s rather undecided gear selection and sluggish sprints. In short, the Almera’s driving experience is very comfortable and predictable, but it is a far mile from being entertaining.
ALMERA AND ITS SUNNY DAYS AHEAD
Nissan Almera’s attractive price points, its economical fuel consumption, 10,000km service intervals and affordable, easily attainable spare parts will make the Almera’s total ownership cost a hit among car buyers. Almera delivers a full complement of safety features such as front airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, as well as ISOFIX Child Seat System. The Nissan Almera comes in 5 exciting colors; Bronze Gold, Sapphire Black, Twilight Grey, Tungsten Silver and Brilliant White. The Nissan Almera is differentiated by the standard specification E, well equipped V & full specification VL. For more personalisation, customers can opt for the exclusive Almera Optional Accessories.
GRADE VARIANT PRICE E 1.5 M/T RM66,800.00 1.5 A/T RM69,800.00 V 1.5 A/T RM76,800.00 VL 1.5 A/T RM79,800.00
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INDUSTRY NEWS : HONDA MIROS ASEAN NCAP
HONDA MALAYSIA & MIROS SET UP MALAYSIA’S FIRST ASEAN NCAP ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
HONDA MALAYSIA SPONSORS A NEW CITY FOR ASEAN NCAP CRASH TEST
are to crash some expensive vehicles for a living? Sounds like a fun-filled job, doesn’t it? But crashing cars is a serious business. It helps to save lives in the event of a road accident. No laughing matter indeed. A crash test for vehicle safety is a kind of destructive testing performed in order to ensure safe design standards in crashworthiness and crash compatibility. It is a very important task in order to minimize losses such as deaths, property damage and injuries resulting from vehicle crashes that happen on the roads. Honda Malaysia recently sponsored a new Honda City for the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Vehicles (MIROS) to run the ASEAN New Car Assessment Programme (ASEAN NCAP) crash test. The first crash test was conducted at the specially built NCAP crash lab in Malacca, where a series of crash tests for sedans and small cars will be undertaken under its Phase I testing. The crash test speed was recorded at 63.6 km/h. Following this crash test, another City will undergo an official ASEAN NCAP crash test in December, which will further add tenability to the results when announced later.
Honda Malaysia’s participation in the ASEAN NCAP crash test is part of its long-term commitment towards advanced safety technologies in its vehicles. The study of ASEAN NCAP is to elevate motor vehicle safety standards in Malaysia and to standardize the safety ratings among all manufacturers in the Malaysian market.
Some of the details that the team worked on with MIROS to stimulate a real-life crash situation included dummies placements, the ideal in-car temperature to monitor the dummies, mechanics to achieve the desired speed in order to get accurate results and tweaking of the cables to obtain the right tension when the car is pulled.
Honda Malaysia Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Yoichiro Ueno said, “We are pleased to be able to assist MIROS in the ASEAN NCAP as we share a mutual desire for safer cars and safer roads in Malaysia.”
At the crash test session, the MIROS NCAP’s Development Manager, Mr. Khairil Anwar, reiterated his gratitude for Honda’s willingness to work hand-in-hand with MIROS towards setting an ASEAN safety assessment standard.
“This opportunity to work with MIROS is indeed timely as we are able to assist in analyzing the safety ratings of Honda cars in our efforts towards promoting and supporting the government’s move towards road safety. Honda safety experts also came in from Japan specifically to assist in this effort by MIROS,” Mr. Ueno added.
Safety is part of Honda’s commitment and priority; thus, Honda always proactively complies with new regulations. In fact, all Honda cars’ safety standards and crashworthiness meet the UN Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE)’s R94 and R95 regulations. Honda will continue to study real world situations and develop new safety technologies for its customers to make the roads of the world a safer place.
To add to the potency of the testing, Mr. Yoshiji Kadotani and Mr. Tadashi Mashita, Chief and Assistant Chief Engineer of Honda’s R&D, flew in from Japan and were at hand to guide the MIROS team on various aspects of the crash test. Mr. Kadotani, Mr. Mashita and their team have extensive experience in vehicle safety, having crash tested more than 20,000 cars. What an impressive figure!
Results of the City ASEAN NCAP crash test will be made public by MIROS and at ASEAN NCAP’s website.
INDUSTRY NEWS : AVENTADOR LP700-4 ROADSTER
LP700-4 LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR
AVENTADOR GOES TOPLESS & FASTER The new Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster is the new benchmark in the world of open-top luxury super sports cars.
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The Aventador Roadster’s two-piece roof is made entirely from carbon fiber using various technologies such as RTM and Forged Composite®. It guarantees maximum aesthetic performance and stiffness although each component is extremely light, weighing less than 6 kg. These two parts are removable, easy to handle, and being lightweight and simple to attach, can be stored in the front luggage compartment. The wind deflector delivers almost complete calm inside the car, even at high speed. It rests on the front windshield frame and can likewise be stored in the luggage compartment when not in use. The body of the new Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster sports a two-tone finish, as the windshield pillar, the two roof sections and the rear window area up to the “fins” are painted in gloss black. The range of colors available for the Roadster has been supplemented with a very light, metallic blue color, Azzuro Thetis, whose tone varies with the angle of the light. The Aventador Roadster also features new Dione 20”/21” rims with a daring, aggressive look. Crafted in light forged aluminum, they lower the weight of the vehicle by 10 kgs compared to standard rims. Finally, the Aventador Roadster boasts record performance with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in only 3 seconds flat and has a maximum speed of 350 km/h.
INDUSTRY NEWS : LEXUS LS
LEXUS LS LUXURY SEDAN The latest flagship Lexus LS features Lexus’ new design philosophy called the L-finesse and the signature spindle grille. The bold and dynamic design lines give the LS a sportier presence. An ultra-wide 12.3 inch LCD multi-display screen and Lexus’ award winning Remote Touch Interface (RTI) graces the dashboard. Featuring five different driving modes; ECO, NORMAL, COMFORT, SPORT S and SPORT S+, these modes work with the Frequency Adaptive Damping (FAD) shock absorbers and the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) air suspension system to control pitch and bounce rates by simply turning a knob. The all new LS Sport features a more exclusive exterior, 19-inch wheels with 6 piston Brembo brakes and an intake sound creator. Available in the rare Shimamoku wood finishing, the new LS is also hailed as the quietest and most refined. The bigger seats have also been further improved for comfort and support to reduce fatigue when driving. The Lexus Climate Concierge air conditioning system utilises 13 sensors that are strategically placed around the cabin. These sensors detect your body heat and adjust the air-conditioning accordingly via 20 individual outlets that distribute cool air throughout the cabin of the new LS.
The new Lexus LS is now available in four different models: LS 460 : RM 788,000 LS 460 F SPORT : RM 818,000 Long wheel base LS 460L : RM 878,000 Top of the line LS 600h L : RM 1,068,000.
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INDUSTRY NEWS : HONDA JAZZ HYBRID
HONDA MALAYSIA LAUNCHES MALAYSIA’S FIRST CKD HYBRID VEHICLE – HONDA JAZZ HYBRID HONDA MALAYSIA SDN BHD HAS ROLLED OUT THE VERY FIRST ‘COMPLETELY KNOCK-DOWN’ HYBRID VEHICLE IN MALAYSIA – THE CKD HONDA JAZZ HYBRID.
The CKD Jazz Hybrid is an eco-friendly yet practical compact 5-door naturally driven hatchback. It is equipped with Honda’s Signature 1.3L i-VTEC engine and Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. The stylish exterior of the CKD Jazz Hybrid consists of Chrome Grille with Blue Reflector, Chrome Rear License Garnish, Rear LED Taillights with Blue Highlight and 15-inch Alloy Wheels. The driving experience is further enhanced with easily accessible information on the Multi Information Display (MID). The Charge Assist Indicator and the fun ECO Assist System provide alerts on the driving style in an interactive and fun way. The CKD Jazz Hybrid also retains most of the functions of the imported CBU version such as the highly acclaimed Ultra Seat and a large boot space. The boot’s capacity (above floor) is up to 831 litres and allows the Ultra Seat to transform, flip and adjust easily to different modes for different purposes. The safety features of CKD Jazz Hybrid include Dual Front SRS Airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Immobilizer System and 4-Corner Reverse Censor which all add to the great value of the vehicle. The CKD Jazz Hybrid comes in five colours -Tafetta White, Sparkling Brown Metallic, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Polished Metal Metallic and Crystal Black Pearl. Customers are able to enjoy 5-years or 140,000 km warranty for the battery.
INDUSTRY NEWS : BMW INNOVATION SHOWCASE
BMW’S FUTURE OF AUTOMOTIVE CONNECTIVITY The BMW Vision ConnectedDrive Concept Car is a futuristic roadster designed to allow for optimal insights into the display and practical application of future BMW ConnectedDrive features. From advanced driver assistance and real time traffic information to new technologies for the in-car use of mobile devices and more, the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive is the test bed and precursor of technological innovations to come in the near future. Divided into the three areas of safety, infotainment and comfort, the fundamental concept of the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive (the intelligent networking of driver, vehicle and the outside world) is expressed on four levels: the display and operating concept, an unparalleled light installation, the design of the car itself and the integration of the whole concept into a multimedia experience. With its revolutionary 2-seater roadster design, the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive’s striking light bands in green, blue and red symbolise the transfer of information from each system to another. A distinctively BMW hood features a stylised opening designed to focus the driver’s attention to the road while also optimising the prioritised flow of information to the driver. A majority of the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive’s revolutionary features are already available in the BMW models of today. There are other leading features which will be introduced in the future as BMW constantly seek out innovations to remain a leading force in the global automotive arena.
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INDUSTRY NEWS : ALL-NEW SUZUKI SWIFT
ALL NEW SUZUKI SWIFT LAUNCHED IN MALAYSIA OTR Price Starting From RM77,888
Suzuki Malaysia Automobile Sdn Bhd (SMA), introduced the fully imported All-New Swift 1.4L VVT, to the Malaysian market. The All-New Swift comes with dynamic performance and sport styling that have earned accolades including 63 Car of The Year awards in 19 countries since its launched including Malaysia “The motto for the All-New Swift development was simply ‘More Swift!’, encapsulating a development programme aimed at evolving the All-New Swift for more sportiness,” said Shuji Oishi, Chief Regional Officer, ASEAN, Suzuki Motor Corporation Japan. The styling carries forward the dynamic, European-inspired character of the current Swift but is more emotionally appealing. Notwithstanding the new Swift’s compact dimensions, there’s plenty of space for rear passengers and for luggage. A new black-and-silver interior design realized sportier, more refined ambience. The K14B 1.4-litre petrol engine is light and compact with variable intake-valve timing. Its superior power-to-weight ratio mated with a four-speed automatic transmission with a newly adopted straight shift pattern not only helps realize nimble driving performance but also make it superior in fuel efficiency and environmental performance. Standard active-safety equipment includes an ABS and electronic braking-force distribution. Passive-safety features include a light, reinforced, energy-absorbing body in which front crumple zones help to absorb impact energy and direct it away from the cabin in line with Suzuki’s proprietary Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) concept. Swift Colours: Ablaze Red Pearl 2, Boost Blue Pearl Metallic, Snow White Pearl, Mineral Gray Metallic and Super Black Pearl.
BMW Group Malaysia has introduced a fresh batch of 30 limited edition MINI Ones for its Malaysian customers following the car’s stunning popularity with its debut in 2011. Possesing the same external charm, the MINI One is powered by a 1.6 litre 4 valve in-line engine delivering an output of 72 kW/ 98 hp and 150 Nm of torque to retain that uniquely MINI go-kart handling experience. Energy conscious Malaysians will benefit from the MINI One’s remarkable fuel efficiency with the car having a combined urban and highway driving average fuel consumption rate of 6.7 liters per 100 km with CO2 emissions of 156 grams per km. Available in the highly popular and ever fashionable Chili Red or Pepper White, MINI customers also have the option of having side mirror decals which are unique to the MINI One. All new 15” light alloy wheels with 5-Star Twin Spoke rims are fitted on the MINI One as a standard option. The retail price (on the road and without insurance) for the MINI One is RM 143,888. The MINI Tender Loving Care (TLC) package, which provides free wear and tear repairs, maintenance and services for 3 years or up to 50,000km based on whichever is reached first, is also purchasable as an optional upgrade.
INDUSTRY NEWS : LEXUS LS
RE VO LU TIO NA RY 3-D OO R
VEL OS TE R
The Hyundai Veloster is Hyundai-Sime Darby Motorsâ€™ revolutionary new sporty compact; an innovative three-door coupe that combines a cutting edge sporty design with practicality and convenience. The Premium Variant comes with a massive panoramic sunroof. The Veloster has a drag coefficient (cd) of just 0.32, reducing wind resistance thereby improving fuel economy. Its uniqueness is further enhanced with its 1 + 2 door concept. The rear door on the passenger side of the Veloster provides a safe, convenient and ready access to the surprisingly spacious rear seats. The rear door handle is hidden to maintain the strong coupe design. The Veloster is fitted with a McPherson strut front suspension, coil springs, gas shock absorbers and a 24 mm diameter front stabilizer. Its exceptional level of standard safety features the Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system and a state-of-the-art braking package. Hyundai offers its Gamma 1.6-litre engine that offers better fuel economy and high reliability backed by a 5-year / 300,000-km warranty. The Veloster is available in six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. There are three variants namely the Veloster Gamma 1.6 M/T (RM116,888 OTR), Veloster Gamma 1.6 A/T (RM121, 888 OTR) and the Veloster Gamma 1.6 A/T Premium (RM132, 888 OTR). The Veloster comes with 17-inch alloy wheels for Veloster Gamma 1.6 M/T and A/T and 18-inch alloy wheels for its Veloster Gamma 1.6 A/T Premium. It is available in six colours, namely Green Apple, Sleek Silver, Sonic Silver, Veloster Red, Vitamin C and White Crystal.
new thinking. new possibilities. 48
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FIRST EVER BMW MAXI SCOOTERS BMW Group Malaysia has marked the beginning of a new era in personal mobility in Malaysia with the introduction of the all new BMW C 600 Sport and BMW C 650 GT by BMW Motorrad. Designed to match the evolving challenges of inner city traffic, rising energy costs and with the most stringent greenhouse emission standards, the all new BMW C 600 Sport and BMW C 650 GT are the foremost Maxi Scooters available in the world today. Featuring a 2-cylinder inline engine, the powertrain of the all new BMW C 600 Sport and C 650 GT is an all new design by BMW Motorrad with an output of 44 kW/ 60 hp at 7,500 rpm and a maximum torque of 66 Nm at 6,000 rpm. Power is transferred to the motorcycle’s drive shaft via a directly integrated Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) allowing for a smooth and uninterrupted level of acceleration. As the most powerful engine of its class, the powertrain of the new BMW Maxi Scooters provides everything needed for dynamic performance as well as outstanding torque levels with the BMW C 600 Sport capable of reaching the 0-100km/h mark in 7.1 seconds and the BMW C 650 GT in 7.5 seconds. Available in Cosmic Blue Metallic Matt, Titanium Silver Metallic and Sapphire Black Metallic for the BMW C 600 Sport and Sapphire Black Metallic, Platinum Bronze Metallic and Vermillion Red Metallic on the BMW C 650 GT, the retail price (on the road, without insurance for the all-new BMW C 600 Sport and BMW C 650 GT are: BMW C 600 Sport BMW C 650 GT
RM 65,000.00 RM 68,800.00
TRENDING Are you a courteous driver? Or do you turn into a road bully once you are behind the wheel? Road rage is on the rise, and during peak hours in the city, radiator water and blood boils equally quick. Looking on the bright side, there is still a fair share of decent drivers in our country - those who give way when you need to cut in, those who politely slow down and wave you in when you need to join the main road at a busy intersection.
THE TWO THANK YOU BLINKS
Faced with such heartwarming generosity, how would you reciprocate? How would you say a hearty “Thank you!” to the driver behind who has kindly let you in? A wave of the hand or a raised arm usually does the trick in the unwritten book of Malaysian sign languages, but the gesture may go unnoticed especially with tinted back windows or in the dark of night. The Japanese show their appreciation in an awesome way. They let the hazard lights blink twice as a way to say thanks to the driver behind. Visibility is guaranteed and it’s the easiest, most effective way to say “thank you”. Yes, driving with the emergency lights on is illegal, but a short burst of 2 blinks does no harm and is in fact a wonderful way to say thank you behind the wheel. Wouldn’t it be great if these two thank you blinks could be incorporated into the unwritten book of Malaysian sign languages too? Make our driving experiences friendlier and more gracious, peeps. Spread the word!
INDUSTRY NEWS : VW TOUAREG TDI
VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG TDI Launched in Malaysia Rainer Zietlow was in KL recently to help Volkswagen Malaysia launch its first ever dieselpowered vehicle to the Malaysian market. The Touareg TDI proves that diesel is now modern; far removed from the common perception of diesel vehicles, the Touareg TDI not only performs well and is comfortable, but is different from the general understanding of diesel– powered vehicles. It runs on clean technology and is relatively quiet in comparison.
downsized engine. As for trim, this variant is equipped with an 8-speed automatic gearbox that contributes to the vehicle’s already impressive benefits.
The TDI joins the currently available Touareg line up of the 3.6 V6 and the Touareg Hybrid under the Volkswagen brand’s environmental umbrella, Think Blue.
This is in part due to a large variety of new assistance and safety features, this second generation Touareg reinterprets the fascinating idea of a multipurpose SUV in a contemporary way. With its remarkable fuel economy, covering extra miles in one tank compared to petrol engines of its class, the cost of ownership of a Touareg TDI is consistently less.
The Touareg TDI is an improved and enhanced model of its predecessor. With its combined fuel consumption of just 7.2 l/100 km, the Touareg TDI sets new standards among full-fledged SUVs. This 3.0 litre V6 TDI engine cranks out 245PS and generates 550Nm of torque, between 1,750rpm and 2,750rpm. This enables the car to reach 100km/h in 7.6 seconds and goes all the way to its top speed of 220kph. Carbon emissions are kept to a minimum of just 189g/km. More than just a power upgrade, the engine’s overall weight is now about 25 kilograms lighter. The powerful and fuel efficient engine can also tow 3,493 kilograms without hesitation, despite its
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With an engine that is over 25 percent more fuel efficient compared to petrol engines in its class, the TDI consumes 7.2 litres/ 100 kms on a combined urban and extra urban cycle. The petrol consumes 9.9 litres/ 100 kms.
The interior is very upscale and the driving dynamics are sporty for a large SUV. The inside of the Touareg TDI continues its nicely styled theme using high quality materials and a well thought out design.
There is ample leg and head room in both the front and rear seats which allows five adults to fit comfortably. The rear seats also have the ability to recline just enough. A practical everyday car, the Touareg TDI has a massive cabin space of 580 litres of luggage and with the seats folded flat, up to a maximum of 1642 litres is available. The spacious interiors and luggage space make this luxury SUV very well suited for comfortable long distance travel, both on road and off road, as well as a passenger car in urban traffic. The Volkswagen Touareg TDI is a premium SUV that embraces the elements of performance, durability and comfort. Its top of the line performance, design, and safety features make it a perfect fit for both on road and off road use. It is available in Graciosa Brown, Cool Silver, Deep Black and Pure White.
INDUSTRY NEWS : VOLVO iSTREC
VOLVO & AIM TO HELP REDUCE TRUCK-BIKE ACCIDENTS V
olvo Trucks Malaysia has partnered with Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) to launch an initiative that aims to find innovative solutions to make Malaysian roads safer for motorcycles and trucks. Road traffic injuries are one of the fastest growing epidemics across the world. Over 1.2 million* people die every year on the roads worldwide with about 50 million* suffering from non-fatal injuries. Innovative Solutions to Reduce Crashes between Trucks and Motorcycles or iSTREC: Trucks and Motorcycles in short, was witnessed and officiated by His Excellency Mr. Bengt G Carlsson, Ambassador of Sweden to Malaysia. Malaysian and Swedish organizations that are a part of this initiative are the Swedish Trade Council (STC), University Putra Malaysia (UPM), Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) and SAFER – Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre, Sweden. A study by MIROS and Hospital Kuala Lumpur Forensic Department on fatal crashes involving motorcyclist revealed that in terms of vehicle type involved in crash, commercial vehicles accounted 32% of total number of crashes followed by single vehicle crashes (28%) and passenger car (23%). Collision with heavy vehicle subgroup suffered substantially more severe injuries as opposed to single vehicle accident and others. The study also revealed that there was a substantially high crash of sideswipe and rear end collision involving heavy vehicle and motorcyclist.
iSTREC: Trucks and Motorcycles aims to address this challenge by primary and secondary research followed by a nationwide awareness programme through traditional and modern tools to reach a wide number of truck drivers and motorcyclists. The first stage will be carried out over the course of the next 6 months. It involves primary and secondary research to develop innovative solutions for the challenges presented in the form of truck and motorcycle clashes. The second stage involves the implementation of the developed innovative solution and a nationwide awareness programme. “With Sweden being the leading country to record the lowest number of road fatalities since its implementation of Vision Zero, we are glad to be a part of this initiative and help Malaysia implement some of our learnings,” said His Excellency Mr. Bengt G Carlsson. “With the varied expertise that each party brings to the table as part of iSTREC: Trucks and Motorcycles, we are confident that we will succeed in developing and widely implementing a solution to reduce crashes between motorcycles and truckers in Malaysia. The results may not be visible overnight but it is a project that each of us truly believes in,”said Mansoor Ahmed. The findings from this initiative will be published when it is completed in Q3 2013, with accident rates expected to be reduced as a result in 2014. (*Source: WHO, 2009)
INDUSTRY NEWS : iCAR ASIA
iCar Asia : The Leading Automotive Portal in ASEAN iCar Asia Ltd, owner of the most comprehensive automotive classifieds website in Malaysia, Carlist.my, has recently entered into an agreement to acquire DQBP Sdn Bhd that owns and operates LiveLifeDrive.com, Malaysia’s fastest growing automotive website. The acquisition further strengthens iCar Asia’s foothold in the Malaysian market and consolidate itself as ASEAN’s No. 1 network of car classifieds and content websites. LiveLifeDrive.com, which provides extensive coverage and reviews of new cars in Malaysia, grew over 400% through 2012 to approximately 272,000 unique visitors in November (Source: Effective Measure). This acquisition is the perfect marriage set to create the top website in Malaysia for people looking to buy or sell new or used cars. WHAT MALAYSIANS WANT In a survey conducted by Accenture, Malaysian car buyers visit an average of 11 different websites prior to making the purchase, and almost one in 10 buyers visit over 21 different websites. 80% of Malaysian car buyers agree car dealers have failed to exploit the full potential of online digital marketing such as videos, and they would also like the comparison process simplified. Customers want better online support, advice and personalisation. In view of the above current consumer trends, iCar Asia’s focus for the year 2013 are to continue efforts to develop a world class platform, focus on expanding consumer choices through quality listings, and increasing the depth and breadth of content. iCar Asia’s online property currently reaches over 1.5 million car buyers and enthusiasts in the region every month. iCar Asia Ltd. is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The company is focused on developing and operating leading automotive portals in Malaysia (carlist.my), Indonesia (mobil123.com) and Thailand (autospinn.com. The largest investor in iCar Asia is Catcha Media Bhd. THE MAN BEHIND IT ALL The Chief Executive Officer of iCar Asia since June 2012, Damon Rielly, has over 16 years of experience in the media industry spanning online, radio and print media. Prior to joining iCar, Mr Rielly was the Chief Operating Officer of Catcha Media. He also spent three years as the Head of Media Business for ASX-listed REA Group Limited where he was also a representative of the Internet Advertising Bureau of Australia, and seven years at ASX listed Austereo Limited, where he was the Director of Sales.
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INDUSTRY NEWS :BMW ACTIVEHYBRID
BMW’s ALL-NEW HYBRID DYNAMIC DUO The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 and BMW ActiveHybrid 5 complete the BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series product line-up in Malaysia. BMW’s Active Hybrid vehicles excel in all aspects of hybrid disciplines – output, fuel efficiency, range, all-electric top speed, acceleration and internal space and luggage capacity. The new BMW ActiveHybrid models boasts the multi-award winning six-cylinder in-line petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology power plant featuring a twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection and Valvetronic variable inlet valve lift control including Double-VANOS, the very same engine featured in the remarkably dynamic BMW 335i and the BMW 535i, providing both cars with a maximum output of 225 kW/306 hp with torque peaking at 400 Nm. The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 and ActiveHybrid 5 are further fitted with a 40 kW/55hp electric motor which is capable of delivering a maximum torque of 210 Nm, and this allows the cars to deliver performances of 5.3 seconds and 5.9 seconds respectively in the 0-100km/h sprint. The most astounding feature is their remarkably enhanced efficiency, consuming an average of 5.9 litres per 100km and 6.8 litres per 100km respectively and CO2 emissions of only 139 grams per km and 160 grams per km respectively. A key feature of the BMW ActiveHybrids is the ability to deliver impressively dynamic acceleration by combining the outputs of both its petrol as well as electric power plants. Operating in the all-electric mode the BMW ActiveHybrids are able to deliver zero-emissions while driving at speeds up to 60km/h with a total uninterrupted range of four kilometres. In addition, the cars eBOOST system is activated whenever additional power reserves are required, such as during overtaking manoeuvres. The retail prices (on the road, without insurance, with BMW Service + Repair Inclusive (BS+RI)) for the new BMW ActiveHybrids are: BMW ActiveHybrid 3 - BMW ActiveHybrid 5 -
RM 538,800.00 RM 648,800.00
CAR TIPS : KNOW THY BATTERY
KNOW THY BATTERY THIS INTEGRAL PART OF YOUR CAR IS THE BIGGEST CULPRIT OF ALL CAR BREAKDOWNS, SO THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE BETTER EQUIPPED YOU ARE. WE’RE ‘POSITIVE’ ABOUT THAT.
FEW THINGS ARE MORE INCONVENIENCING THAN CLIMBING INTO YOUR CAR ONE FINE MORNING WHEN YOU’RE RUSHING FOR A MEETING AND FINDING THAT YOUR CAR SIMPLY WILL NOT START. ONE OF THE MAIN CAUSES FOR THIS DYSFUNCTION HAPPENS TO BE NONE OTHER THAT YOUR CAR BATTERY. LIKE ANY MACHINE, YOUR CAR CANNOT RUN WITHOUT POWER, SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOT ONLY MAINTAIN YOUR BATTERY LIFE, BUT ALSO TO KNOW WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT OF IT FAILING.
The car battery is an electrical storage tank. These lead-acid (or lead-calcium – the new maintenance free variety) batteries consists of lead plates, sulphuric acid and water enclosed in a case. When the ignition or an electrical device is switched on, electrolysis between the lead plates creates an electrical charge to operate the unit or device. Its main purpose is to supply electrical current to start your engine, but it can also supply current to electrical accessories when the engine is off.
AAM GODRIVE • MARCH 2013 ISSUE
WHY DO CAR BATTERIES FAIL? There any many causes for a car battery becoming too weak to start, such as a faulty alternator, leaving the lights on, cold weather or simply an older battery that no longer holds sufficient charge. Technically speaking, the reasons are as follows: • • • • •
Low Electrolytes Insufficient Charge Overcharge Overload Contaminated Electrolytes
HOW DO I MAINTAIN MY CAR BATTERY? Check fluid levels For non-maintenance free batteries, it is important to ensure that the battery fluid is always at an optimal level. You can do this simply by opening your bonnet and checking the fluid levels. If the level is too low (as indicated by the lines on the battery), then purchase battery fluid and top up the water levels. Battery Terminal Corrosion For all batteries, it is important to check that the connections are always firm and not loose. If your car is not driven too regularly, you may also find a white, ashy deposit around one of more of your battery terminals. This corrosion is caused by chemical reactions with the vapours and should be cleaned to avoid further damage. You may request your mechanic to do this for you.
1. Remove battery cables – negative first, positive second. You may need to wiggle the cable around if they are stuck due to the corrosion. If you need to use tools, please be sure that your wrench or pliers does not make contact with the metal of your car while it is also touching the battery. Place the cables carefully to one side so they don’t accidentally touch the battery. 2. Check for excessive corrosion or cracks in the cables or the battery. If they exist, then you may need to change your cables or battery. 3. Clean the battery posts with some baking soda and a toothbrush dipped in water to scrub the corrosion off. Boiling water will also work should there be no baking soda available. Be sure to protect your skin and eyes. If you want to go pro, you can go search for a battery terminal cleaner brush – yes, they exist! 4. Once done, clean and dry off the battery and cables with the clean, lint-free cloth. 5. Replace the cables – positive first, negative second – and voila, you now have corrosion free battery terminals! Ask your mechanic to check your battery load. Your mechanic can test your battery load test reading to determine if your battery is about to give way, so the next time you go for a service, you may ask him (or her? I’m sure female mechanics exist!) to check if your battery is due for a replacement.
INDUSTRY NEWS : MAZDA & FAWSTER MOTORSPORTS
WORLD’S FIRST MAZDA3 1.6 RACE CAR Mazda Malaysia & Fawster Motorsports Form New Team Mazda Malaysia (Bermaz Motor Sdn Bhd) & Fawster Motorsports has collaborated to produce a full-fledged racing team with the aim of bringing back the Mazda marque to the racing scene. Mazda Malaysia sponsored 2 cars, one of which is already in race trim. The second is due to be completed early 2013. Their target for the Sepang 1000km (S1K) 2012 endurance race were to finish the race and to gather as much information from their race setup for their R&D. The Mazda3 race car is driven by 3 very experienced and established drivers who happen to be brothers, hence the name ‘Brothers in Racing’. They are Nazir, Ridzuan and Khairul Anwar, under the management of Faidzil Alang of FA Racing. Ridzuan Nor, Director of Fawster Motorsports said “The chassis of the Mazda3 is already very good. With the roll-cage in place, the handling on track has been better than expected. The car remained consistent throughout the test sessions.” “The S1K will provide a valuable testing ground for us to gauge the performance of the car. We will assess the car every hour throughout the race and we will see where we are in comparison to our competitors now,” he added. Fawster Motorsports, a new collaboration between Brothers in Racing and FA Racing, intends to see Mazda secure podium finishes in the near future while promoting Mazda as a reliable, powerful and potent racetrack machine.
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