DAVID WONG, TEAM PRINCIPAL OF PETRONAS SYNTIUM TEAM, RECEIVES DATO’ TITLE FROM SULTAN OF PAHANG, MALAYSIA
Thursday, 26 April 2012 – Team Principal of PETRONAS Syntium Team David Wong has been bestowed with the Darjah Indera Mahkota Pahang (DIMP) award today, in conjunction with His Royal Highness, the Sultan of Pahang’s 81st birthday. This ‘Most Distinguished Order of the Crown of Pahang – Knight Commander’ award comes with the Dato’ title and recognises the efforts that the Singaporean has been making over the last 21 years to the growth and development of motor racing in Malaysia with over 100 international race victories, as well as grooming Malaysian rookie racing drivers into champions on the global stage.
From a young and tender age of merely four years old, Dato’ David Wong had a vision to own a successful racing team. Setting himself out to attain that dream, Dato’ Wong has achieved and delivered beyond expectations, pushing his goals to greater heights. Founded and run by DWA Motorsports, PETRONAS Syntium Team is the brainchild of Dato’ Wong, who first took the PETRONAS name into touring car and superbike racing in 1990.
Establishing Malaysia and the PETRONAS brand on the world map of motorsports, he has been imperative in building up the Malaysian motorsports scene and its drivers. Now, after over two decades of success and respected for its well-earned reputation as a racing specialist, PETRONAS Syntium Team is testament to a solid record of race victories with more than 100 wins, including a four-time consecutive Super Taikyu title, and a strong portfolio of successfully-groomed racing drivers.
"Since the team’s first race in 1991, we have come a long way over the last 21 years. We have gone across the globe and back, and I am very grateful for this support and appreciation of our efforts. I hope the proven track record of PETRONAS Syntium Team will serve as an inspiration for others to emulate and even beat. I am looking forward to seeing more people step up to motor racing in future and better my efforts,” said Dato’ David Wong.
Rizal Abdullah, award-winning Malaysian senior sports journalist with almost 40 years of reporting experience in the field, now retired after his last stint at Malaysia’s leading English daily The Star, extended his heartfelt wishes to Dato’ Wong: "I only have my heartiest congratulations for David. This is one man who has an immense passion for motorsports and does not hold back to achieve his goals. He ensures the welfare of his team and is a great inspiration to the community at large. I started calling him Dato’ colloquially because I saw his passion and success in developing young Malaysian drivers into champions, saying that one day his efforts will hopefully be recognised. True enough, he finally received the Dato’ title and he deserves it fully.”
At PETRONAS Syntium Team, every driver is a winner and rookies have been crowned champions from their debut GT racing season. With the support of PETRONAS, DWA Motorsports has proven its ability to produce winners and develop successful drivers, both at rookie and professional level, with its formula of allowing rookies to race alongside the professionals.
Many young Malaysian racing drivers have been groomed by the PETRONAS Syntium Team over the years, boosting them to achieve proven results on the international stage. Fariqe Hairuman made history as the first Malaysian to compete in the British Touring Car Championship and the second youngest winner in the world for attaining a major touring car title (the Asian Touring Car Series Driver Championship). Fariqe has been racing in the Super Taikyu Series since 2007, clinching the championship title in 2009 and overall runner-up in 2010 and 2011.
Other Malaysian racing champions developed by the team are: the late Hairol Azmi Buntat, Malaysia Supercar Champion 1999; Syed Iskandar Syed Hashim; Maslino Baung; Mohd Syahrizal Jamaludin, 2006 Asian Touring Car Championship runner-up; Johan Adzmi, 2009 Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER) winner and Super Taikyu Series runner-up; Melvin Moh, 2010 Super Taikyu Series runner-up; Imran Zaharias, 2010 Super Taikyu Series champion; Dominic Ang, 2011 MMER winner and Super Taikyu Series champion; and Ooi Fei Hoong, 2011 Super Taikyu Series runner-up.
"The next phase for PETRONAS Syntium Team extends beyond searching for and developing new talent to encouraging and instilling enthusiasm for motorsports in the masses. We are constantly in pursuit of the next-generation of racing drivers, in the direction of the next Malaysian Formula 1 driver, one with natural ability and talent. The longest-serving driver on the team is Fariqe and I literally found him off the streets. He was a young bright-eyed boy who had a penchant for motorsports but could only dream of racing. Today, he is an Asian GT racing champion and we need to give the same chance to as many people as possible,” Dato’ Wong added.
2011 was an outstanding year for PETRONAS Syntium Team, as they clinched their fourth consecutive Super Taikyu championship title, winning it in 2008, 2009, 2010 previously. It was an honourable 1-2 overall finish for the team as both BMW Z4M Coupe cars dominated all year. The team also reaped a highly commendable MMER achievement with their Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 debut, winning the 12-hour race in first and third place. That marked the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3's first ever victory in long-distance endurance racing worldwide and PETRONAS Syntium Team was rewarded for its achievement with the "Best Racing Performance" award at the AMG Customer Sports Season Finale in Affalterbach, Germany.
Retiring the BMW Z4M Coupe cars, PETRONAS Syntium Team is running the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 this season. The team secured its first victory of the season at the opening round of the Super Taikyu Series 2012, taking the top two spots. More significantly, this makes the first Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 win in Japan.
Moving forward, DWA Motorsports will continue to add to its victory tally and equip its drivers with the necessary skill set to engage in continuity to groom up and coming drivers, but it also has plans to embark on a greater driver development programmme that will reach out to the masses as part of giving back to the community. With support from PETRONAS, DWA Motorsports is confident of setting up the right foundation for a solid motorsports future. The eventual goal is Formula 1.