Mutiara Damansara, Thursday: The new season for CRG Junior Team Asia gets underway on 12th and 13th March, when the Rotax Max Challenge Asia & Malaysia Series begins at the Speedway PLUS Circuit, USJ ELITE. In this interview, Team Principal Nik Iruwan talks about how the preparations are going and the rejuvenated team spirit especially after an extensive restructuring period during the winter period.
Formerly known as IRU1 Racing, the CRG Junior Team Asia is now set to take the karting world by storm with the introduction of the new model CRG kart chassis; The Black Star which has impressed drivers across the globe with its nimble characteristics and sheer speed.
According to the Team Principal; Nik Iruwan Dato’ Izani; “We are greatly honoured to be appointed by CRG; a distinctive brand in the motorsport industry as their official factory team for the Asian region. With the involvement and support from CRG through the implementation of high technology equipments and updated apparatus, it is an exciting prospect to see the combination between CRG’s expertise and ours unveiled in this upcoming race.”
Going into the first race of the season; The Rotax Max Challenge provides the team a solid platform to present to the karting world; the outcome of a continuous exertion involving sheer perseverance, commitment and hard work between the racers, CRG and IRU1 Motorsports.
When asked to comment on the drivers who will be competing in the Senior Max, Nik Iruwan answered with a statement of intent when he said; “Our team is design to win and with the drivers that have been selected, we’ve set an ambitious target of a win for Calvin Wong and top ten finishes for both Connor O’Byrne and Sean Hudspeth”.
18 year old Calvin Wong is a former Malaysian Junior Kart Champion and has the crucial experience of racing for the Petronas Mofaz Racing in the Formula BMW Pacific Series 2010. With his experience, he has achieved so much in his career and his feedback will be very important to the team. His dedication has been nothing short of fantastic as he displayed commitment and team work throughout our ongoing tough preparations for the season.
Malaysian Connor O’Byrne, 17, and Singaporean Sean Hudspeth, 17, are two development drivers who have impressed the team since joining end of last year.
Connor O’Byrne was raised in Ireland since a very young age, and the team has scouted him when he was back in Malaysia for holiday. Connor O’Byrne has the valuable experience of competing in the competitive Irish Karting Championship for two years. He impressed the team by finishing 10th place in the last Rotax Invitational Race in January 2011.
Sean Hudspeth of Singapore is making his full season debut in the Rotax Max Challenge Asia, having join the team end of last year after short stint with Drakar Racing in selected races of Singapore Karting Championship. Sean impressed the team when he finished runner-up in the final round of the Singapore Karting Championship last year in only his second race ! Sean is now a ‘famous’ sportsman in Singapore and is tipped to make Singapore proud in Asia’s karting competition.
Another driver that is part of CRG Junior Team Asia is 13 year old Timothy Yeo, but he will be competing in the prestigious ASK Asian Series KF3 commencing next weekend.
Nik Iruwan added, “I am proud with the line-up in the team and I think we have the mix of experience and the desire to succeed. All members in the team including myself, the mechanics and the drivers are working tremendously as a team and functioning more or less like a family now. This is very important for the stability of the team and I believe with hardwork and perseverance we should all hope for some great results this weekend”.
Newly appointed Technical Chief for CRG Junior Team Asia, Albert Teoh explained : “ Things are falling into place quite nicely in the team. CRG has given us a great chassis to work on and performance so far has been strong overall on all areas including the medium and slow speed corners. I would like the team to continue working hard and try our best for the race. The competition is also very close, and anything can happen. We’ve done our homework so we should be confident for the race”.
The race weekend begins with Qualifying and Heat 1 on Saturday while the Pre-final and Final are on Sunday.