2010 Sepang 1000km Race: Team Kegani Racing is back. Introducing pilots of car #36

keshy

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keshy

500 RPM
Senior Member
Dec 12, 2007
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In its second year running, the Sepang 1000km race has proven itself to be the ideal race for rookie racers to cut their teeth and also for more established teams running small capacity cars to compete against each other on a equal platform. After last year's drama filled race, there's no doubt that this year's race will be equally exciting. One team that we are keeping our eyes on is Team Kegani Racing.



Headed by veteran race Kenny Lee, boss of the entire operation and with uber talented Australian driver Chris O'Shannessy together with car mate Hsiao Tung We, a Taiwanese national with plenty of experience racing in Sepang, the trio will be spearheading Team Kegani Racing's charge to the podium in car #36, a specially prepared Toyota Levin. The car gave in last year with mechanical errors in the final few laps of the race while the team was leading, in fact the team were leading for much of the race. So it was disappointing for everybody to see their hardwork go up in smoke at the end of the race. This year will prove different, the pilot's of car #36 are determined for it to be so.



Team Kegani Racing will be also be contesting another car, #37, and that will be piloted by a trio of very energetic, enthusiastic and definitely determined drivers. Their car broke down last year early on in the race with a broken gearbox, I personally witnessed the despair in the driver's faces and judging from how hard they have been practicing and testing, #37 will be a force to be reckoned with on track. Team Kegani will also be managing two other customer cars for the Sepang 1000km race. We will be following the progress of Team Kegani Racing at the race very closely and for starters we spoke to all driver's and had them share their thoughts on the race with us. Read on below.

Chris O'Shannessy



Hailing from Brisbane Australia, Chris O'Shannessy or Chris O' as he's better known is no stranger to racing in Malaysia or Australia. The veteran has been racing since the early 2000's and has some serious credentials under the belt of his racing suit. He has been crowned National Champion in the Queensland Improved Production Racing Association twice and has stood on the top step of the podium in the same series a number of times. He also carries two titles as champion in the Queensland 500, one in the under 1600cc class and another in the under 2000cc class. Chris O' has also raced the Malaysian Merdeka Millennium Endurance race, coming in as low as 14th in 2006 and Champion in Class C, a good 5 laps clear of the second car. The man is no stranger to racing in extreme weather, and has taken everything in his stride. For 2010, Chris is hungrier than ever for another win, we catch up with him:

Welcome to Malaysia Chris, this is not your first time here and you're a veteran of the Sepang International Circuit, run us through your experience of racing in Malaysia.

Thanks Keshy for the introduction, great to meet up with yourself and ZTH crew ahead of another SIC Endurance event.

Circuit racing in Malaysia is great, its one of the most challenging environments I have raced amongst. You can encounter everything from searing heat and humidity through to thunderstorms that can last for quite some time ‘al la 2006 MME 12hour’ where we faced torrential rain from just after the midnight start right through to the break of dawn.

You race and have been crowned champion in a number of Australian series as well, how different is it than racing in Malaysia besides it being hot and humid here?

Racing in Australia is a challenge in a different way, the races we have are what you might consider “sprint races” where it’s all or nothing from the drop of the flag in each of the 6 races over a weekend. I still remember back to my 1st MME Enduro where I had to consciously tell myself to relax sit back in the seat and flow the car through the 75min stints.

You have also seen a number of breakdowns in endurance races, what's the first thing that runs through your mind when this happens?

We had some mixed results as times gone on, Such is the nature of motorsport, its sole destroying to have failures or issues when so much hard work goes into the preparation of both the car and the team, I feel more for the crew who year on year give their all to ensure all 3 drivers can compete at the head of the pack. For these guys to stump up again and again is a credit to their dedication and tenacity to see our team succeed.

You're a drift instructor as well, why not compete in a drift series?

Correct, ive recently been appointed as a senior motorsport instructor with ‘Safe Drive Training’, www.sdt.com.au, with offices in Malaysia, Singapore, Jakarta and Brisbane.

Drift is a nice skill to have and I'm happy to teach students where I can, but I have to admit that as a true ‘circuit racer’ my true passion is circuit racing and ensuring the quickest cleanest lap times can be achieved from any given car.



So this weekends Sepang 1000km is going to be your fifth year competing in series held at the SIC, how is this year different?

5 Years, wow that’s passed in a hurry, every time I arrive @ SIC I get a smile on my face, this is without a doubt one of the best events and circuits ive had the privilege of racing on

This year the Kegani Autotech team is now 4 cars strong and brimming with new driver talent across the team, The difference for me is I now not only have the #36 AE111 levin to focus on as a driver, but I now have the opportunity to assist even more drivers and crew across the 4 cars to learn and develop.

You're going to be racing the same car that you raced last year, what's the difference?

Being the second Sepang 1000km for the AE111 of Kegani AutoTech team, the cars undergone some what of an evolution period as the years have gone on, my fellow drivers of Kenny lee & Tung Wei have spent considerable time @ SIC testing a myriad of new items ahead of this event.

The car broke down on you in the final few laps of the race, why choose to race the same car again?

Absolutely sole destroying is the only way I can sum this one up, to be vying for a potential podium and have a failure within the late stage of the race was crushing to all of us, but its things like this that only make you more determined to bounce back bigger better stronger and faster.

How's the atmosphere in the pit with the team?

The team is fantastic, watching them perform pit stop practice last Friday was brilliant, to see these guys working so hard on practicing their skills around all aspects of servicing the cars in preparation for the S1K was great to see, I take my hat off to these guys they work tirelessly and give their all, without them we don’t get to enjoy the race

From a driver perspective, Kenny Lee / Tung Wei and myself all get on quite well, we’ve got a common goal which is to operate at the absolute peak of efficiency and we work very well as a collective constantly sharing development ideas

Know anything about the competition? What do you expect and who do you regard to be the closest competitor?

Spotted a good friend Rhommell Singh today in the pits who’s ventured up from Singapore to contest the S1K, it’s always great to see some of the same faces ive raced with in both MME & S1K events year on year.

As in all enduro events the competition will be close and challenging, I look forward to having a great event with all my fellow competitors

Quote for the race:

Best of luck to all teams competing in the 2010 S1K, and especially the 4 Kegani Autotech cars, enjoy yourselves and fly the flag proud and high for Toyota.

Kenny Lee



The boss of the entire operation, Kenny Lee, like every other good racer, has been racing longer than he has been managing. He also shared the top step of the podium with Chris O' when the team were crowned MME class champions in 2007. The duo shared highs and low's and the lowest of the low's came last year when the team's Toyota Levin broke down in the final stages of the 2009 Sepang 1000km race. However, Kenny continues to challenge himself and the team and rebuilt the same car to be contested again this year. Besides that he also has four other cars to oversee while piloting one car himself. Truly an extradionary racer with massive talent, we speak to him:

You can be considered the brains behind the team as you run, manage and train all the mechanics in the team as well, so run us through what the team has done to ensure a podium finish this year.

The preparation is more critical to ensure we do well. Despite the preparations there still are some changes to fix some issues. We have to thank our sponsors for giving some support with the dyno facility at Trial Dyno Works, together with Forge Racing aluminium radiators and the lubricants from Shift Performance because our car has been running a little too hot during testing. We were having cooling issues; two of our cars have already resolved these problems. In terms of what we have done different, we have looked much closer into the engine development part of, this time it’s more into the blueprinting part of it to make sure everything works and the engine lasts. It’s important for us to finish.

You're racing the same car that broke down last year, why so and what has been improved?

Well the car definitely has potential to win a race, and perhaps the reason we put the car back in is because I wanted to take on a bigger challenge of putting two cars on the podium. Both cars #36 and #37 broke down last year and this year I’m going to try to put them on the podium. We have worked more into the engine management part of it and we have also done improvement on the airjack systems to speed up all the pit works. The engine development has given us more horsepower as well.

The team management has also improved. We are more efficient in managing the cars, the data, the mechanics and the drivers, so that has been improved and hopefully it brings better results.

Has racing improved the image of Kegani Autotech and what are your customers like?

This is up to the customer to see, but in racing we are always pushing ourselves for better performance and to gain more knowledge instead of being stagnant and waiting for customers at the shop. Racing is more about improvement for us and ensuring that we can further our understanding and improve ourselves to give the customers more performance on the street. That’s why we go racing, it’s for testing and improving ourselves.

You're a veteran of racing at the SIC and have been doing so since 2003, what's different this year?

This year the challenge is for me to prove that it’s not only is the car we race competitive but it’s how we build it to be competitive. That is the ultimate challenge for me and also managing four cars under the roof and see them finish the race and get a good result. I think managing these 4 cars is going to be quite a number for me to manage. But when I started racing in 2003, it was more about driving, and now its managing and driving, that is the difference as I am challenging myself to improve in many ways.

What's different this year with yourself and what has been done to improve on positions?

I think the exposure of driving different cars with Wing Hin Motorsport for last year’s MME and preparations for this year’s MME has given me a different perception of handling the car. With Wing Hin I was racing a rear wheel drive Toyota Altezza and it gave me a better understanding of my Levin so I post better lap times. I consider myself a bit disadvantaged because I have to manage and drive at the same time. However, now with the better team management I can sit back and focus on my driving.

Who do you think are your closest competition and what are you doing to keep them behind you?

The closest competitor would be our very own car #37, it’s the one that I built. The car is running lighter but has the same power as me. Last year their straight line speed was faster than mine, so this year I think the challenge will be great. To keep them behind we got to put in consistent driving, I believe the technical knowledge I have of the car will help me keep the car running and finish the race ahead of them.

Quote for the Race:

I would like to thank our main sponsors Ultra Racing for unlimited support through the year. Also want to thank our co-sponsors and the enthusiastic team, crew and friends. Not forgetting my beloved wife and family for their support. Also a very special thanks to Zerotohundred.com for this close up coverage of the team. Hopefully we'll be bringing home better results and greater excitement for all forumers.

Hsiao Tung Wei




The youngest among the three pilots of car #36, Tung Wei's credibility and skill as a racer is not to be taken lightly. He already has experience; finished 9th in class in the 2008 Merdeka Millennium Endurance race, a annual 12 hour race in Malaysia. He was also teammate to both Chris O' and Kenny in last year's ill fated Sepang 1000km race for the team. However, he's back stronger this year and will also be contesting in the 2010 MME later in August. We speak to him:

You have been racing in events at the SIC for a few years now, what's different this year?

Actually I have only been racing for 2 years and this will be my third, however through these three years drastic changes can been seen in the event to make it more publicized. Rules are stricter and let's not forget the pace gets faster. Overall the level of events at sic gets higher every year.

The car's the same as the one last year, and the team suffered a breakdown in the final few laps, why choose to run the same car again?

Well, this car has been proven to be fast based on our experience last year, however, last year was really unlucky, as u know we were leading the race for over 90% of the race and then suffered a mechanical failure in the last hour. We have learnt from our mistakes and have made sure not to repeat them.

What's different this year with the team and yourself and what has been done to improve on positions?

Preparations have begun earlier to avoid any last minute moments, however this is racing and anything can happen. We ve continued to study the car and it's potential and have work to improve it without sacrificing reliability.

Who do you think are your closest competition and what are you doing to keep them behind you?

As the least experienced driver in the car, my co drivers are my closest competitor, them being fast makes me improve and get faster. As a team everyone is a close competitor, this is an endurance race and anything could happen.

Quote for the race:

I was never good with quotes.

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