There may be a demo on the streets of KL in August but there’s already a V8 Falcon there …
THE recent news of a heads of agreement being signed for V8 Supercars to race in Malaysia next year has plenty of people interested in what is going to unfold on the streets of Kuala Lumpur.
This August a delegation of five V8 Supercars and drivers will perform demo laps at the inaugural KL Grand Prix with one of each type of car – Holden, Ford, Nissan, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz – to be present.
But V8 Sleuth can tell you that there’s already a V8 Supercar in Malaysia and it has been for quite some time!
You may recall a few years ago we put together a Saturday Sleuthing story on the V8 Supercars website covering the history of an ex-Briggs Motorsport, Betta Electrical Falcon AU that has ended up there.
From the V8 Sleuth’s records, it was the #65 car driven by Max Wilson in the Brazilian’s debut season in the category in 2002 as teammate to the #66 car of Tony Longhurst (also a Betta car) and the #600 CAT car, initially raced by Simon Wills.
Wilson drove that car all season, which included involvement in a nasty accident with Craig Lowndes at Phillip Island when Wilson nailed the throttle after being spun by Marcos Ambrose and, unsighted, Lowndes ploughed into him.
The Wilson car was re-numbered #66 for the Queensland 500 only and returned to its regular #65 for Bathurst with Dean Canto co-driving.
With the BA Falcon being introduced for 2003, this car did not race and was bought by Rod Dawson when he purchased another ex-JBMS chassis after Triple Eight had purchased the team and effectively had a clean out.
Dormant for a couple of seasons, it was purchased by Development Series team owner/driver Matthew White in 2005 after his driver Dean Wanless had a start line accident at a DVS round at Queensland Raceway that year in the sister ex-JBMS chassis.
Wanless ran the car for the remainder of what was then known as the HPDC Series as the #28 Smartskip entry and team boss White retained the car in 2006.
He made a one-off appearance in it in 2006 at Wakefield Park’s DVS round after Wanless had run it in the season-opener in Adelaide.
White’s team constructed a BA Falcon that emerged later in the season, though this car would also find itself taking on a new skin for its racing future.
While AU Falcons could not be updated to BA Falcons and meet V8 Supercar rules, there was nothing stopping them being updated to the newer bodywork and sold off to race overseas – and that’s exactly what happened.
The car was sold off to Fugazi Racing in Malaysia, having its first race in the Sepang 12 Hour in August 2007.
But why would a Malaysian race team buy a V8 Supercar to use in their homeland?
Team Manager Hafiz Marzuki said at the time in a team press release: “Why a Ford Falcon? Maybe it’s our personal interest collectively. Everybody loves the V8 machine and everybody was agreeable that we use the car for this years’ MME race.”
MME stood for Malaysia Merdeka Endurance race, which is commonly referred to as the Sepang 12 Hour and the car first ran in the ’07 race.
It was looking good for a strong result until another car spun and punctured the Ford’s diff cooler. It retired with an hour to go after the diff failed from the previous incident.
Since that debut the car has remained in Malaysia and continued to have been raced at Sepang in a range of liveries. It initially ran in silver and black colours before swapping to black and green and later black and gold.