Heightened Focus on Driver Development at PETRONAS Syntium Team

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay News | Latest Industry News

Saturday, 24 March 2012 – Entering its sixth season of the Super Taikyu Series, PETRONAS Syntium Team (PST), founded and run by David Wong of DWA Motorsports, has successfully won the championship title the last four years running. Aiming to retain the title for the fifth consecutive time, PST will be running two Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 entries in the series – the same cars that won first and third place in the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER) last year.


Over the past five years, the team has been effectively grooming rookies from the driver development programme, giving them the opportunity to race alongside and learn from professional GT drivers like Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanagida and Tatsuya Kataoka. With an increased focus on driver development this year, only one of the three drivers per car will be a professional Japanese driver, hence giving the other drivers more time at the wheel. Longest-serving PST driver Fariqe Hairuman of Malaysia, who has been driving for the team since 2001, continues as a mentor to the new drivers.

Fariqe_Hairuman_with_rookie_Jono_Lester_1For Round 1 this weekend at Fuji Speedway, joining Taniguchi in the PETRONAS Syntium Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #1 are Fariqe and Dominic Ang of Malaysia. This is Ang’s second year with the team after an outstanding rookie season with Taniguchi and Yanagida last year, winning the 2011 Super Taikyu and MMER titles. The PETRONAS Syntium Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #28 will see Kataoka teamed up with Melvin Moh of Malaysia, who drove for PST in 2010 in the BMW Z4M, and rookie Jono Lester of New Zealand. Yanagida and rookie Ryan Ritchie from Malaysia will be the reserve drivers for #1 and #28 respectively for this round.

Fariqe_Hairuman_with_rookie_Jono_Lester_2Motor racing in Japan is the most competitive in Asia and PST’s winning track record in the Land of the Rising Sun over the years at such high levels of competition is a great testimony of the team’s excellence and performance. The young drivers have consistently showed maturity, pace and results year on year despite being new to the car, the tracks and the country.


Team founder and principal David Wong says, “The team has come a long way to where we are today. Other than a spirit of excellence and the passion for the sport, we are committed to growing young drivers into champions and aiding them in their development. At PETRONAS Syntium Team, we provide the best learning opportunities for our new drivers to gain valuable expertise from racing alongside experienced Japanese professional drivers such as (Nobuteru) Taniguchi, (Masataka) Yanagida and (Tatsuya) Kataoka.


“Japan is recognised for its intense motorsports levels with the most competitive motor racing in Asia. To be able to crown champions out of these rookies is a great satisfaction and achievement, and we are happy to have contributed in the development of these racing drivers. The team remains focused on keeping the momentum going and we look forward to achieving higher heights.”


Just two weeks after the official testing session was held at Fuji Speedway, the opening round of the Super Taikyu Series 2012 will also be held at the same track. The format for the race will be a four-hour endurance race over the 4,563-kilometre circuit.



Date: 23 – 25 March

Circuit: Fuji Speedway

Track Length: 4,563km

Race Format: 4-hour


PETRONAS Syntium Team Driver Line-up for Round 1:

#1 – Nobuteru Taniguchi, Fariqe Hairuman, Dominic Ang, Masataka Yanagida (reserve driver for Round 1)

#28 – Tatsuya Kataoka, Melvin Moh, Jono Lester*, Ryan Ritchie* (reserve driver for Round 1)

*Indicates rookie drivers





FRIDAY (23 March) & SATURDAY (24 March):

2 x 1-hour Free Practice sessions per day


SUNDAY (25 March):

0825 – 0840 Qualifying Session A

0910 – 0925 Qualifying Session B

1100 – 1115 Qualifying Session C

1130 – 1215 Pit Walk

1300 – Super Taikyu Round 1 (4 hours)

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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