Following on from the launch of Caterham Cars India over the weekend of the India Grand Prix, Caterham have added Malaysia to their ever increasing profile.
The Malaysian expansion focuses on upon the new-for-2012 Superlight R300 Championship, which was launched at Sepang International Circuit last week.
The series – which is being backed by AirAsia – will race exclusively at Sepang in 2012, was presented by Tony Fernandes (owner of Caterham Cars and Team Lotus Formula 1) alongside Ansar Ali, Chief Executive of Caterham Cars.
At the launch Ali said:
“We’re hugely excited to be officially launching the championship and demonstrating how fantastic Caterham Seven racing is, especially at such a renowned circuit which the Formula 1 drivers enjoy so much.
We already have plans to expand the grids to over 40 cars in the coming years; we know how much appetite there is for motorsport in the East and this is a terrific platform on which to continue expanding our motorsport and road car business in this part of the world.”
Powered by 175bhp Ford Duratec 2.0 litre engines, the R300 Championship is expecting at least sixteen entries for 2012 brief run, with a potential forty entries available for future seasons.
With similar Caterham championships on the horizon in India and China, the potential growth for motorsport audiences in these territories is significant.
The relatively inexpensive cost of machinery and series participation (compared to other forms of motorsport) may also go some way to encouraging local entrants. Raja Zaini’s Thunder Asia Racing Team will manage the series, as well as provide package deals and technical support.
While this may not seem immediately relevant to those interested in top level motorsport, it is important to understand the growth potential national and club championships offer audiences, once Formula 1 has visited a territory.
Rumours also exist of Caterham launching similar championships in the lower reaches of Asia and the Middle East at some stage in the coming years.