After it’s debut season in the Asian Le Mans Series 2017/18, Viper Niza is packing its bags for Europe and will campaign the 2018 V de V series.
With seven races spread across Spain, France and Portugal, the team will be flying the Malaysia flag in it’s first foray outside of Asia. The team will relocate its garage to Monza and the core team will be travelling between Kuala Lumpur, its home base, and to the various cities where the races will be held. “Racing in a different region certainly throws up its share of challenges and as we’ve learnt from racing in the Asian Le Mans Series, weather plays a critical role. We’ve had to bear with cold temperatures without appropriate clothing!” smiles Douglas Khoo, Team Owner of Viper Niza. “The other challenges would be to adjust quickly to a different time zone and acclimatize ourselves to a new work culture. We hope that the support team we have in Europe will help us make the transition smooth.”
We sat down with Douglas as he weighs in on this new chapter in the team’s growth.
Q. What was the main deciding factor in signing up for the V de V series AND what is the appeal of the series?
A. One of the factors we considered in deciding to race in the VdeV series was the limited option for prototype racing in Asia. The series o offers us the opportunity to race at some of the best circuits in Europe that are steeped in history. The level of drivers also o offers a challenging and competitive field.
Q. In recent years, we’ve seen Asian teams like Clearwater Racing and Jackie Chan DCR move from Asian championships to compete outside of Asia. Is this a trend that you think other teams will look at?
A. With the exception of Japan, racing in Asia does not have as rich a history when compared to Europe. Motor Sports is still developing in Asia and therefore offers limited options for teams to compete at a higher level. Moving to Europe to race would certainly provide the team with deeper experience.
Q. Is there a gap in Asia racing for LMP teams that is pushing teams to look outside of Asia?
A. Currently there are only two options to race prototypes - Asian LeMans Series and FRD P3 series. The former has been running for a few years now and the latter, is only in its second year in China. There is certainly a gap but as the market develops, there may be other endurance series that could start and grow the interest.
Q. New circuits that you’ve never raced at before. That’s got to be both exciting and a bit of the unknown as you prepare to get into the car.
A. It’s always a challenge to race on new tracks that we’ve not raced before. Especially if there isn’t much time available for practice. In preparation for these, we spend a fair bit of time watching on-board videos as well as on simulators. This is far from ideal and of course nothing beats time in the car but we’ll have to make the best of what we have.
Q. Viper Niza is probably the first Malaysian team to race in the series. What do you hope to achieve by the end of the series?
A. The main objective of participating in the series is to get as much experience in and out of the car. We’re not sure how competitive we will be but will certainly hope for a few podium nishes. This will help us prepare for the next endurance series much better.
Robert Peyrano, V de V Head of communication marketing & press chimed in with his thoughts about Viper Niza’s entry into the series. “For our organization, having a Malaysian team participating in the endurance series means we are attracting more international pilots and teams,” said Robert. “Eric van de Vyver, V de V CEO is sure in the future, more foreign teams will join the series and we are looking seriously at new opportunities to open our races to the Asian circuits if teams and sponsors are interested. We are more than happy to welcome teams from Asia.”
RD1 of the V de V series takes place March 23-25 at the Circuit de Cataluña in Barcelona followed by Magny-cours, Circuit Paul Ricard, Dijon-prenois (France), Navarra (Spain), Le Mans Bugatti (France) and ending at Estoril, Portugal.
Viper Niza’s Ligier JSP3 will be piloted by Malaysian, Douglas Khoo and Briton, Nigel Moore.
About Viper Niza
Viper Niza, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was formed three years ago to compete in TCR Asia, one of Asia’s leading touring car championships. It consists of very experienced team members who had worked with established teams in Asia as well as internationally. Current fleet of race cars include SEAT Leon and Ligier.
About V de V
V de V Series is a motor racing organization that owns and runs a group of international motor racing championships. Based in Paris, the majority of events are held in France although the series regularly visit Spain and Portugal and has also visited Belgium, Germany and Italy. The organization takes its name from founder Eric van de Vyver. His family is involved in most aspects of running the series and they have their own racing team within the series.