Promising Malaysian driver, Mitchell Cheah, is set to compete in the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) this year as a wildcard.
The WTCR wildcard system, which permits two local drivers to join the grid per event, will allow Cheah to take part as a one-off entry during the season finale at his home event in Sepang.
As part of a new initiative to develop Malaysian talent, the Sepang International Circuit has recently begun to provide support to the most promising young drivers from its domestic championships, with Cheah being one of the first to be chosen.
Last year, the initiative placed him in a Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR run by Liqui Moly Team Engstler in the TCR Asia Series, where he was coached by ex-F1 driver and GT racing ace, Alex Yoong.
While battling wheel-to-wheel with German rising star, Luca Engstler, Cheah developed a respectable reputation in his first year racing at international level. With two race victories and a further five podium results in the TCR Asia Series, Cheah placed as runner-up in the 2018 overall drivers’ championship standings, and emerged as the regional South-East Asian champion too.
Having spent the early months of 2019 tutoring and assessing a new wave of hopeful drivers in the TCR Malaysia Series, the youngster is now set to move his own racing career to Europe. Cheah will compete full-time in the TCR Germany Series in preparation for his debut on the world stage at the end of the year.
Sepang International Circuit CEO, Razlan Razali explained the motivation behind this new young driver initiative: “In emulating the success of MotoGP, Malaysian participation is key to the success of these events. Therefore, we have been developing talent from our Malaysian Touring Car category in which we discovered Mitchell Cheah, who won the TCR South East Asia Championship last year. We will continue to develop him in the TCR Germany this year and get him prepared for a wildcard entry for the Sepang race in December.
“I am confident that these fantastic world championship events with our local driver and riders will be a strong attraction and will pull the ever enthusiastic Malaysian motorsports fans and fans from all over world to Sepang Circuit and Malaysia.”
Cheah’s team and car for both the TCR Germany campaign and his WTCR wildcard appearance are yet to be officially confirmed.