Local racer Alif Hamdan is gearing up for a challenging MMER 2013 as he races alongside Naza Nexus Racing teammates, Adrian D’Silva and Earl Bamber in a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. We caught up with the young driver in Sepang where he was seen putting a V8 Radical through its paces on the blistering hot track.
You’re racing in the Naza Nexus Racing Team at this year’s MMER. Are you looking forward to it?
Yes, I am. I’ll be racing with Adrian (D’Silva) and Earl (Bamber) this year and we’ve got a new Ferrari 458 GT3 coming in from Italy too. So that should be exciting.
New car aside how has your personal preparation been for this event?
I’ve been doing the usual – gym work as well as working on my overall fitness. As you can see, I’ve been practicing in a V8 Radical, which delivers lap times that are a couple of seconds faster than the GT3 Ferrari. That works well because you get used to driving a really fast car, which means you won’t get overwhelmed with the speed and power of the GT3 Ferrari once you drive it.
As a driver, what’s the hardest part about racing an endurance event in Sepang?
I think driving in the dark is going to be the main challenge. Some parts of the track aren’t brightly lit-up so you can miss things like brake markers and such. Another aspect is that as a driver you’ll also be racing with cars in other categories. If you’re racing in the GT Category you have to keep in mind that you’ll be catching up with the other category cars pretty quickly when you’re out there racing. As a driver, we have to be mindful of that.
You’re obviously used to the weather here. Will that be factor?
I think everyone knows the heat in Sepang is no laughing matter. But I think it won’t be as bad because the race starts at midnight and finishes at noon. I guess all drivers including myself will be glad we’ll be missing the peak of the mid-afternoon heat this time around.
Do you have an expectation set for the new Ferrari 458 GT3 that’s coming in?
We’re hoping for decent top three finish right now, so let’s see how it goes from there.
Who do you think will be the team’s closest competitors?
I think Frank Yu in the Aston Martin GT3 and of course everyone knows Ferrari is sending in their factory (AF Corse) team down with Mika Salo at the wheel so that should be fun.