Meet 'Ring Teksi', a Proton Wira that has completed one of the most gruesome tracks on earth in Nürburg, Germany.
Dubbed as 'Project Proton', Dutch twins Jochem and Ruben Gravemade began their dream of bringing a Proton Wira to the racetrack in July 2019
In an interview with SAYS, Ruben said he and his brother used to live in Malaysia for a total of seven years over two different periods.
Due to his father's work, his family relocated to the country when he and Jochem were four years old and lived there for about five years, and another two years when they were 16 years old.
Since both of them are automobile enthusiasts and a big part of their upbringing was in Malaysia, Ruben said it was only logical for them to find a Proton and prepare it towards gracing Nürburgring - a 25.4km-long racetrack which has been nicknamed 'Green Hell' due to its difficult turns in the middle of the wilderness.
"We looked at various options and I suddenly realised Germany, in the late 90s, they did sell some Proton (vehicles) here," said the 27-year-old, who works in a market research company in Germany, while his elder brother works as a pilot.
It took the siblings more than one year to prepare
In fact, it took them two Proton Wiras to make the project come true. They worked on the first 1.3 GL Wira and realised it was an "electronic nightmare" to fix the wiring.
"We bought the first Proton Wira for EUR400 (about RM1,976). We knew it had a faulty engine. We tried to fix the engine [...] and nothing really helped," Ruben related.
"We decided it made a lot more financial sense to find another Proton. We found another one and heckled it down to EUR350 (about RM1,728)."
In a report by Malay Mail, Jochem said that there is a service called 'Ring Taxi' in Nürburgring where customers can pay a couple of hundreds of euros to race high-performance cars.
Based on that idea, the twin designed the Wira to look like a Malaysian taxi. It even has a pair of stickers on its doors that reads 'DDM Dutch Mechanics Sdn Bhd - Ampang'.
According to Paul Tan, his family used to live in Ampang during their time here in Malaysia.
After a year of trial and error, they managed to complete building a race-ready Proton Wira that can go from 0km/hr to 100km/hr in about 12 seconds
Albeit slow, Ruben said their remodeled Ring Teksi is possibly less than a second faster than any Wira before any enhancement.
"We upgraded the suspension, brakes, tires, we made the car a bit lighter. So I think there would be a little bit of an increase in speed. Maybe 0.3 to 0.4 seconds faster, maybe half a second if we are lucky," he explained, before adding that they would need to upgrade the motor to see a substantial increase in speed.
When asked how could they overtake a Porsche 911 then, he said it was because the driver was inexperienced.
"I think the Porsche was really doing his best. He was not as familiar with the track. When there was a very clear opening on the straights, he opened the throttle and it just went (sic)."
"But in the curves, he didn't know how to anticipate the curves. In the end, we got him."
They reportedly got some of the car parts from their fans in Malaysia
In April, they asked a friend in Penang to source for a taxi metre counter so that the 'taxi' can look more 'authentic'.
"We just really want to deliver the full experience - that this is the real deal. We want to make it look like every other taxi in Malaysia," Ruben said.
Although the vehicle is more than a decade old, he told SAYS that the power windows still work.
However, the same cannot be said for the air-conditioners. He said the model he bought came without air conditioners. So, it is safe to say that Ring Teksi is a good vehicle in German weather, but definitely not a good taxi in the ever so panas Malaysia.
In an Instagram post, the brothers wrote that Ring Teksi is the first Wira to ever conquer Nürburgring on 4 July 2020.
At the time of writing, Ring Teksi has 3,200 followers on Instagram and 1,500 subscribers on YouTube
The first post on Instagram has only 400 likes, but the latest photos have garnered over 1,800 likes with many Malaysians showing an outpouring of support to the Gravemade brothers.
Many of their fans also gave suggestions on how to make the Wira go faster.
Ruben said they are preparing a Hari Kerbangsaan special for their fans in Malaysia this month.
So don't forget to follow them on Instagram here and subscribe to their channel on YouTube here.