SEPANG: After their first practice session at the Sepang F1 circuit yesterday, the Petronas Syntium Team are very confident of living up to high expectations in the Merdeka Millennium Endurance (MME) race on Saturday.
The team comprise former F1 driver Hans Joachim Stuck, his son, Johannes, and Malaysian Mohd Fariqe Hairuman and they will drive a BMW Z4 Coupe in the Open category of the eighth edition of the MME.
“We will be a bit slower in the long straights compared to teams using the Porsche cars,” said Johannes, who had his first feel of the track yesterday.
“We have compensated this by performing well in the corners. The track is very demanding. If we make a mistake in one corner, it would be difficult to recover immediately.
“We have a very strong team. It's a very long race and a lot of things can happen. The organisers have also just laid new tar on the track. After a few more practice sessions, I can get a better feel of the track.
The 21-year-old German has no plan to follow in his father's footsteps to become an F1 driver.
“Not everything in motor sports is about F1. I have no interest in becoming an F1 driver. I plan to be a touring car driver,” said Johannes, who won the 24-hour Nurburgring race earlier this year.
Hans Joachim, a winner of the 24-hour Le Mans Race in 1986 and 1987 and F1 driver between 1974 and 1979, fully supports his son's decision.
“I think he is a bit too tall for F1. Anyway, he prefers to drive touring cars. I believe that he is capable of finding a good future there,” he said.
“I feel good that I am able to work with my son. I am enjoying every moment of it. We have our disagreements at the track and that's normal. When we leave the track and go home, we leave the work behind us.”
The 56-year-old Hans Joachim will also be making his debut in the MME. For Mohd Fariqe, it will be his sixth outing in the series.