Viper Niza Racing’s Douglas Khoo perfectly typifies the kind of driver the burgeoning TCR category was focussed towards. A driver who had come to the sport a little later in life, Khoo found himself in a position to enjoy his motorsport and wanted to be a part of a Series that provided relatively low pressure, but plenty of competition. To say he got that in spades would be an understatement, the Malaysian ending season 2016 - his second in the category - P2 in the Amateur Driver’s classification after a season long battle with China-based American Bill O’Brien.
Khoo is a huge fan of the TCR concept, and his Viper Niza Racing operation - built in conjunction with Niza’s Niko Ode Praytino - presents one of the most professional teams in the category, a team which has delivered a number of podium finishes, and the odd outright victory for Roelof Bruins, the team’s part-time driver and Khoo’s regular coach.
For season 2017, Viper Niza Racing are extending their race program to include a full-season campaign in TCR Asia with a two-car Seat Leon TCR operation, whilst they will send Khoo’s original 2015 ‘DSG’ to Thailand to provide him with an opportunity to complete valuable extra race miles in TCR Thailand.
“I’m looking forward to the coming season,” Khoo admitted. “I’ve had a fantastic run with the TCR Asia Series, and have improved with almost every outing. There’s no question it has been challenging, but it’s a great concept, and fantastic that it opens windows to join the Thailand and Chinese TCR national championships, while also providing the opportunity to jump in besides the International Series guys if we want to go down that path.
“The racing is excellent, and whilst at times there can be contact, the thing I like the most is how fair the guys around you are. In many cases they’re like me, they’re self-funded, so they don’t want to be tearing up the cars, so the racing is close, it’s fair, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Whilst Khoo is the only confirmed member of the team so far for 2017 with an all-new Seat Leon TCR with sequential shift (as per their 2016 car), Viper Niza Racing are in discussions with a number of drivers about filling the second seat this season, a season which already looks to have attracted strong fields.
“Douglas and Viper Niza Racing are exactly what TCR is all about,” WSC Asia Limited CEO David Sonenscher admitted. “They want good, clean, close racing at an affordable budget. Douglas was a real standout last year as he worked himself forward with every event to be capable of matching some of the more experienced guys by the end of the season. To see him progress through the field over the last two years has been fantastic to watch.
“After two seasons of the TCR Asia Series, 2017 will see us step up to a whole new level. There are a number of new teams coming in this year - teams which have moved across from other touring car and production car categories - along with a few brand new cars, and some brand new marques. It’s going to be an exciting season.”
The 12-round 2017 TCR Asia Series season is scheduled to begin at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on 10-12 March.