SEPANG: Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MME) defending champions Honda Malaysia Racing Team are confident of retaining their title at the Sepang F1 Circuit on Saturday.
Honda Racing will again take part in Class A for production cars above 1,900cc in the 12-hour endurance race with almost the same line-up as last year. The new driver for the team is Ryo Michigami, who replaces Hidetoshi Matsusada.
The team had two entries last year. Japan GT driver Hiroki Katoh and Malaysian drivers Eddie Lew and Farriz Fauzy won the overall title while the trio of Kunimitsu Takahashi, Matsusada and Malaysian Tommy Lee finished third.
Preparations have been good and the team spirit is very high, said team manager Zainuddin Taib, who handed over the MME challenge trophy to Sepang International Circuit general manager Ahmad Mustafa on Tuesday.
The organisers, Sepang International Circuit, have received 91 entries for the race on Saturday 27 for Class A, 37 for Class B (1,601cc -1,900cc) and 27 for Class C (below 1,600cc). But only 77 will get to start on Saturday.
Ahmad said that under the rules, there would be 26 cars each from Class B and C and 25 from Class A on the starting grid.
That means that 14 entries 11 cars from Class B, two from Class A and one from Class C will be eliminated from the qualifying session on Friday.
Meanwhile, Faidzil Alang, who will drive a Proton Gen 2, does want to be the odd one out from Class C. Faidzil partners Zaid Idris and Lee Jones in the Proton Powertrain Racing Team.
We will not only make sure that we qualify but also finish the race among the top runners in Class C, he said.
Tickets for the MME are priced at RM20. Spectators will also get the chance to watch a concert by the Akademi Fantasia 3 winner, Mawi.