Heightened Focus on Driver Development at PETRONAS Syntium Team

23 – 25 MARCH

For Immediate Release


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.

For 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.

Motor 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 this weekend. The format for the race will be a four-hour endurance race over the 4,563-kilometre circuit.

For more information, request for photos or any enquiries, kindly contact or visit the official website at

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)


*Teams have the option to race at either Round 4 in Okayama, Japan or the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race in Sepang, Malaysia. Championship points will be taken from only one of either race participated.


The roots of the Super Taikyu (スーパー耐久) Endurance Race Series started in 1985 with Group A regulations of the Japan Touring Car Championship which ended in 1998. Evolving from the N1 Taikyu Series (that started in 1990), the name "Super Taikyu” was officially created in 2000. As a series, Super Taikyu celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010. 

Founded and run by DWA Motorsports, the PETRONAS Syntium Team is the brainchild of David Wong, who took the PETRONAS name into touring car and superbike racing in 1990 and immediately established his team as the regional pacesetters in Asia. Today, after over two decades of success, PETRONAS Syntium Team is testament to a solid record of race victories with over 100 wins. 

The history of the PETRONAS Syntium Team can be traced back to 1990 when it was racing in Malaysian and Asian saloon car events under the names Team PETRONAS Mach 5 and Team PETRONAS Primax. Collaboration in 1999 with Opel Motorsport South Africa saw a rename to Team PETRONAS Syntium Opel. 

In 2002, the team became known as PETRONAS Syntium Proton Team and saw its entry into the world’s premier touring car series – the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). After a three-year BTCC campaign, PETRONAS Syntium Proton Team returned to Asia in 2005 to compete in the Asian Touring Car Championship (ATCC), winning the Team Championship in 2006 before clinching both the Team and Driver Championship in 2007. 

Thereafter, the team is now known as the PETRONAS Syntium Team and continued to add to the ever increasing list of awards and accolades, including the prestigious title of a four-time Super Taikyu champion, winner of the Tokachi 24 Hours, 24 Hours of Dubai class champion and a multiple Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race winners.

DWA Motorsports is the internationally successful motor racing team that is part of DWA’s integrated automotive synergy which encompasses a one-stop vehicle service centre and lubricants distribution business in Singapore. Supported by PETRONAS since 1990 to run the successful PETRONAS Syntium Team, the outfit boasts over 21 years of international motorsports experience and more than 100 race victories, including the record-breaking four-time consecutive Super Taikyu championship title. 

Officially recognised as a racing car manufacturer to international standards by TOCA UK, DWA was behind the world’s first Ford Mondeo four-cylinder Super Tourer in collaboration with Ford Motorsports and Mountune in 1997 and the Proton Impian Challenger previously ran in the British Touring Car Championship (as the first Southeast Asian team to compete in the BTCC) – all designed, built and developed in-house by DWA in the UK and Malaysia.

Utilising motorsports as a platform for their continuous research and development, DWA translates this valuable expertise into their vehicle maintenance business. Bringing back the experience from BTCC to Asia, DWA Lubricants Pte Ltd was established in 2006 as a subsidiary and is the official distributor for PETRONAS lubricants in Singapore. 

Today, drivers can benefit from DWA’s expertise and skills at its two newly-expanded mega facilities in 2012 – a 20,000-square-feet vehicle city service centre at Sin Ming and a two-storey 18,000-square-feet factory at Loyang for specialised body shop repairs, road sports and race car development.  DWA also renewed its partnership with legendary engine tuner and former BTCC champion Richard Longman to start a purpose-built race engine development and rebuild centre at its new Loyang premises.