De Oliveira set to go wild at Sepang WTCR season super-finale

De Oliveira set to go wild at Sepang WTCR season super-finale

KUALA LUMPUR: Multiple championship winner Joao Paulo de Oliveira will join the World Touring Car Championship (WTCR) Races of Malaysia from Dec 12 to 15.

The Brazillian secured a wildcard entry for the Sepang International Circuit season super-finale in a Honda Civic Type R TCR with KC Motorgroup.

De Oliveira’s participation marked a return to top-level international touring car racing after 10 years, following a one-off appearance in the 2009 WTCR in Japan, where he had raced extensively since 2004, most recently in Super GT.

“It will be quite a challenge as I have never driven a TCR car before, but I hope to adapt quickly and be competitive throughout the weekend.

“My goal is to be able to challenge the more experienced drivers and fight for a top 10 position in the races,” said the 38-year-old driver in a statement.

De Oliveira, or also known as JP, was the German F3 champion in 2003, winning 13 out of 16 races in convincing form, then went to Japan in 2004 and took the Japanese F3 title in 2005 with seven impressive wins.

From there, JP joined Nissan as their official factory driver for the next 13 years in Super GT and also Super Formula, where he became champion in 2010.

Meanwhile, team founder Paul Ip noted that KC Motogroup were delighted to have De Oliveira, who had been a huge asset to the team in the previous races.

“We are delighted to have De Oliveira join KC Motorgroup for the WTCR finale in Malaysia. He was a huge asset to the team during his Nurburgring 24 Hours and Kyalami 9 Hours appearances this year, not only with his speed but with the in-depth feedback he provided.

“It will be his first race in the Honda Civic Type R TCR, but we are confident that he will have no problem adapting and being competitive,” he added.

De Oliveira was one of four wildcard-entered drivers including Malaysian MotoGP rider Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, up-and-coming racer Mitchell Cheah and experienced campaigner Douglas Khoo (in the races) which formed part of the inaugural Races of Malaysia along with the 8 Hours of Sepang, a round of the FIM Endurance World Championship for motorbikes.

It would be the first time that the three races, which made up an FIA – WTCR World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO event, would be taking place on the same day.

In an exciting change to the usual format, the races were scheduled for Sunday December 15 at 3.15 pm, 6.15 pm and 8.10 pm local time with the third race to be held under the Sepang International Circuit’s newly installed floodlights.