Eddie Lew hails one-make tyre rule at MMER2010

Published on July 28th, 2010

Eddie Lew, who is arguably the most successful driver in the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER), has hailed the imposition of a single-make tyre rule at the 12-hour endurance race to be a good move; declaring that it enhances his chances of avenging last year’s painful agony.

“Last year, some racers had better tyres than the others because it (the rule on tyres) was open. This year, we will all fight on equal ground since everyone will be racing on Pirelli tyres and this is definitely much better. It’s a level playing field and it’s good for competition,” said Eddie, the overall winner in 2004 and winner for Class A for cars above 1900c in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 with Honda Malaysia Racing Team (HMRT).

Partnering former A1GP Malaysia driver Aaron Lim and Rueben Wong, Eddie was on his way to another victory last year until their Honda Civic Type R mean machine encountered braking problems. The team was forced to pit with one hour to go towards the conclusion of the race.

Due to their difficulties, the Honda Malaysia Racing Team came in second in the new A2 class. Type R Garage R Racing Team emerged as champions in the category with their trio of MSS champions Boy Wong Yew Choong (four-time Supersixteen champion), Lai Wee Sing (two-time Supersixteen champion) and Soh Kee Koon, winner of the Supersaloon class in 2007.

Eddie said “We were leading by two laps and we could have won it easily. But, our brake pump broke and we took some 20 minutes to change it. But that’s endurance racing. We will do better this year,” said Eddie, who is a former Malaysian Super Series champion for Supersixteen and Supersaloon class as well as the Proton Satria GTi championship.

Entering its 11th edition this year, the 2010 race is reverting to its midnight start; starting at the stroke of midnight on August 8 and finishing at noon. A total of 36 cars have registered to take part in the race; competing in the GT class, Sports Production class and the Touring Production Class.

Pirelli has been selected as the official tyre for the race. Returning this year with Aaron and Rueben to challenge the Touring Production class, Eddie said Honda Malaysia Racing Team’s preparation for the race this time around is even more comprehensive compared to last year. He added that things are going well in their quest to win the new Touring Production class.

“I’d say that the key to winning this year’s race is learning the Pirelli tyres. This is something new for everyone. So far, we are happy with the tyres. We will have the same car this year, but with a new engine,” said Eddie, adding that he was thrilled with the team’s spirit and enthusiasm.

This year would mark HMRT’s eighth participation in the MMER. The endurance race have been an effective platform in realizing the team’s objective to instill Honda’s racing DNA into its associates, allowing local talents to thrive and building the local team’s expertise in motorsports.

“MMER is a learning avenue for HMRT to learn from its past mistakes and to continue challenging themselves to compete at the highest level of motorsports, overcoming all obstacles,” HMRT said in a statement announcing its participation.

Hailed as the Biggest Race in South East Asia, the MMER has attracted world class entries due to its appealing challenge to the competitors. Despite being just 12-hours long, the tropical heat and humidity makes it one of the most challenging and demanding endurance race for cars, drivers and the teams.

Toru Takahashi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Honda Malaysia who is also the HMRT Team Principal, is one of the many admirers of the event and is especially proud of the part the team had played in the event’s progress.

“I am very proud to witness the improvements in HMRT, from a team guided by MUGEN to today’s wholly Malaysian team. Our local Honda associates have demonstrated commendable passion and commitment in this local motorsports, building up their skills and knowledge, and supporting each other in their quest towards a victorious 2010 MME race.

“The MME race is not just about speed and strategies, but also the durability of the finely tuned race machines, the team’s stamina and most importantly, the teamwork and perseverance.

“Over the past few years, HMRT has gradually become more independent, needing less guidance and supervision from MUGEN from Japan. Today, the team members are confident enough to manage on their own. This in itself is a significant achievement and a big motivation for the team.

“This is also the ultimate objective of HMRT – to train and build up the skills of local talents to thrive in the motorsports and automotive arena. This year, 11 members from last year’s team returned to HMRT to lead in different divisions, transferring their skills and knowledge to the other new HMRT members,” Takahashi added.

text & pix: SIC

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