Whether you're a motorsports enthusiast, or a curious novice, these Malaysians' achievements are something to be proud of!
1. Alex Yoong
A household name familiar with most Malaysians, Alex Yoong made a mark in the motorsports world when he became, and still is, the only Malaysian to have raced in the F1 World Championship. Since his retirement from F1 racing, Alex has continued to pave his way in the motorsports scene. Having recently broken another record, Alex Yoong is currently the first double Audi R8 LMS Cup champion.
He started his career with saloon cars, then moved on to the Proton one-make series, Formula Three, Formula 3000, Formula Nippon, to name a few. Aside from pursuing his love for racing on the tracks, Yoong is also currently a FOX Sports presenter. And as if he’s not busy enough, he also competes in waterski tournaments such as the recent SEA Games.
There’s truly no escaping from the fact that Yoong eats, sleeps and bleed sports.
2. Leona Chin
Breaking all sorts of stereotypes, Leona Chin is unapologetically making her own mark in the male-dominated motorsports world. Always been a fan of sports since growing up, it was drifting which sparked her interest in all things car at the age of 16.
She recently shot to fame from her part in a viral drifting prank video. Dressed up in an unassuming ‘nerd girl’ outfit, she shocked unsuspecting driving instructors with her crazy drifting skills.
Turning 30 this year, Leona has also branched out beyond just drifting. She has done a variation of speed racing like rally racing, drag racing, go karting, and gymkhana. With her love and passion for fast cars and adrenaline rush, she belongs in the race tracks as much as the next guy.
3. Hafizh Syahrin
Having found his love for riding at the young age of 9 through racing with pocket bikes, Hafizh Syahrin rightfully deserves the nickname 'King of Pocket Bikes'. He made his debut and dominated the pocket bike category, which led to him being discovered by team manager, Barry Leong. Syahrin has moved into Moto2 full-time in 2014.
Syahrin is on a steadfast track to a bright racing career, with an impressive skill to race in all weather conditions, even heavy rain, thus earning him another nickname - ‘Pescao’ or Little Fish. With undeniable talents and impressive skills, he had joined the national team by the age of 12. And when he was 15, he was already competing in the senior category, as a junior.
All those times he spent as a kid at the workshop where his father worked as a mechanic definitely did not go to waste. Only at 22 now, he’s ready for more challenges and gunning for bigger targets.
4. Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin
Banting-born rider, Muhammad Zulfahmi Khairuddin, has been keeping busy in his six years in the MotoGP World Championship with 103 races, 268 world championship points, and two glorious podium wins in the third tier under his achievements.
He has come a long way from when he first made his debut in the 125cc world championship at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix where he finished 20th. Zulfahmi – or known as Fahmi amongst many – is currently further advancing in his racing career in Moto2 after three seasons in the MotoGP’s 125cc category and four seasons in Moto3.
Despite having new challenges ahead of him, one thing’s for sure – nothing is stopping this ambitious 24-year-old rider from reaching the peak of racing at the highest level.
Only at the ripe age of 17, Khairul Idham Pawi made his full-time debut this last April in the Moto3 World Championship. Pawi is on the right track to a promising career, as he became the first Malaysian to emerge as the winner of the Moto3 race category in the MotoGP World Championship at the Argentina Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Hailing from Perak, Pawi has been competing in the Grand Prix since 2012 but really caught the attention of people when he won the recent championship. With a long road ahead of him, Pawi is definitely one to look out for.
6. Karamjit Singh
Dubbed as the ‘Flying Sikh’, Karamjit Singh is one of Asia’s most successful rally motorsports driver, and has been driving professionally since 1985. He was the first Asian driver to win the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Production Car World Championship for Drivers, and did so only on his first attempt.
One of his most recent wins includes the Malaysian Rally Championship in Johor in 2014, one of the world’s toughest rally events. In the championship, which ran over three days, he swept 9 of the 14 special stages of the rally. After building his career by dedicating his life to being focused on his driving, perfecting his skills, it’s no wonder he’s deeply respected by the global motorsports aficionados.
Karamjit has won the Malaysian National Rally Championship a record 10 times, despite staying away from the championship to concentrate on his international rallies between the years 2000 to 2006. He returned to the national championship in 2007 and promptly won, retaining the title again in 2008. Karamjit currently leads the 2009 Malaysian Championship and continues winning relentlessly in Malaysia.aprc.tv
7. Zen Low
Having been involved in a wide range of motor racing like Jetski, Motocross, Go-kart, GT Sprint, Formula Vauxhall Single Seater, Endurance racing, and the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series, there’s really no denying Zen Low’s dedication to motorsports. Zen is now the brand Ambassador for Jonnesway Professional Tools, Shark Helmet Prince Lubricants, Ecotint and spokesperson for The Otomotif College (TOC).
This 47-year-old has won over 10 races, with several prestigious awards under his belt from 3 decades of tearing up the race tracks. Zen Low is currently focused on GT racing, working on striving his goal of winning the 24 Heures du Mans – also known as the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the world's oldest active sports car race in endurance racing.
Great job and congrats to all these drivers and riders on their achievements! We're truly proud. :')
To get your daily motorsports fix, make sure to tune in to the FOX Sports Network, and who knows, you might discover more Malaysian talents!
You can catch F1 on both FOX Sports HD Channel 832 and FOX Sports Channel 812, while MotoGP is on FOX Sports 3, Channel 818.
Also, in with its philosophy of promoting sports and rewarding sports fan, FOX Sports is currently searching for the ultimate ‘Super Fan’! Log on here or here for more information and hey, you might just win some exciting prizes for yourself.
Know any other Malaysians dominating the motorsports scene we should feature? Let us know in the comments below! :)