The Malaysian Motorsports Organisers and Competitors Association (MMOCA) has secured an agreement with a consortium of Japanese organisations to jointly fund the Alex Yoong Racing For Malaysia project to place a Malaysian in Formula One within the next few years.
This was made possible following the successful tests undertaken by Alex with Formula Nippon top teams of PIAA Nakajima and Unlimited LeMans in the Suzuka Circuit last week.
Coordinating from the Japan end will be the promoters of the Formula Nippon Championship, Japan Race Promotion Inc. (JRP).
The deal will have each party raise 50% of the US$1.5 million budget required for the year 2000 season to run a car at the top level basis and to pay for the living, training, travelling, and promotions costs of Alex Yoong to make him into the first Asian from outside Japan to race in the modern era of Formula One within a few years.
MMOCA's President Hanifah Yoong Abdullah said, "This is good news for Malaysia as we have already got the F1 event in Malaysia and the driver cannot come too late to complement our event. Japan organised her first F1 event 13 years ago and they had an F1 driver from year one in the form of Japan's legend Satoru Nakajima to draw the fans in as well as to garner additional international publicity."
He added that "Malaysia's event had drawn in very good overseas spectators and when Alex joins the event he'll be able to add onto the spectating numbers from Malaysia and the S.E.Asian region. We are grateful to JRP and we are confident of their sincerity to help all of Asia through working with Malaysia initially. We are also confident of their capabilities to raise the US$750,000 or more from Japan's end."
"On our part here, our task in working with the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports (who endorses this project) will be made much easier. Already through this link-up with JRP whose significant shareholder is Japan's number one TV station, FUJI TV, we are receiving enquries from some potential major sponsors in Malaysia."
JRP's General Manager, Mr.Masanari Funaki said in Tokyo that "Formula Nippon being the last step to Formula One and had produced many successful F1 drivers today also has plans to expand to the rest of Asia. We are in a position to not only help good Asian drivers like Alex but we can also offer technical assistance to Asian countries in all the areas of motorsport development."
"JRP's partners, comprising the major circuit management in Japan including Suzuka circuit, Fuji TV and teams can cover driver training, racing schools, race engineering, race car design and manufacture as well as event marketing, management, and TV program production. We hope to help Alex to become successful in order that Malaysia can reap the benefits and we look forward to greater cooperation between Japan and Malaysia."
Companies who are interested in the Racing for Malaysia project can contact MMOCA's Hanifah Yoong at his email address of firstname.lastname@example.org or JRP's M. Funaki at email@example.com .