Team Millennium Motorsport Asia at the MSF2018 Held at Sepang, Malaysia

Team Millennium Motorsports Asia. Image credit – Millennium Motorsports Asia fb page

Millennium Motorsports is a well-known entity in the motorsports scene in Malaysia. At the Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF) at Sepang, to commemorate the country’s independence day, we got to know the team a little more.

Millennium Motorsports Asia was founded by Joshua Thiran way back in 1995, when they started out specialising in all types of cars servicing and major maintenance, like dyno tuning, engine upgrade and conversions, and selling all kinds of aftermarket parts.

With a track record of turning everyday cars into track monsters, the team was the overall champion of Superstreet in 2015 and 2016, and overall champion of the Proton 1800 and Super 1500 category in 2016.

Team Principal, Joshua Thiran. Image credit – http://www.msfracing.com

Team Millennium had a 20-car lineup in the MSF competing in various categories. We talked to racer Elwin Lim Yew Mun before the race, who was also collaborating with our sponsor, X-1R.

A: Could you tell us about MSF, for the benefit of our readers?

E: Well, as you know MSF was previously called SNF (Saturday Night Fever), which was rebranded to MSF last year. Driven Communications Sdn Bhd is a powerhouse in the digital content and marketing services. It bought over MSF and for round 4, Petronas came in as a sponsor. So, each driver gets an RM130 petrol card and there will be a live telecast of the race via Facebook. This attracts more spectators and participants which is a tremendously good thing.

Elwin, in his element. 

A: That’s cool. Yea it definitely helps elevate the sport, especially at the grassroots level. Could you tell us about Team Millennium Motorsports Asia and how you got involved working with them?

E: Team Millennium was founded by Joshua Thiran in the late 90s and he has a huge following. He is one of the distributors for MicroTech (Engine Management Systems that powers some of the world’s most powerful drag cars and circuit rally cars as well as street cars, motorcycles and watercraft). And Joshua’s craft is in tuning – he has been invited around the world to tune performance cars. He just returned from a drag race in Brisbane where he was a racer as well. He is now lending his expertise to budding racers.

What it is like in the cockpit of a race car.

He is the team manager and he manages all of us, making sure we have the right setup and systems and, in general, ensuring all cars are ready to race. Not only that, he ensures that the teams are taken care of by organising the pits, the food and support crew.

He is really a cool guy with a relaxed nature but has that desire to win all the time.

As for me, I actually was introduced to the team by a friend. I saw his Facebook post on racing in the Saga Cup. I asked him a few questions about racing and it started from there. I’ve been with the team since December last year, so around nine months so far.

Oh…that’s what a Speed Bump really is. 

A: What is your fulltime job?

E: I have do have my day job, as many of us do. I’m the CEO of Microlink Systems Sdn Bhd, which is an IT company that is publicly listed in Malaysia. We do system integration and core banking system. I’m an IT guy. Yea, I know it’s a totally different field from racing. But we are all friends when it comes to racing – no titles – just doing the best for the team.

A: That’s really cool. And what role do you play in the team? Operations or just a pure racer?

E: I’m just a pure racer. Just for the love of racing. No advisory role whatsoever. (Laughs.) But as a racer, one must be passionate about setting up his/her car, what and how you want your car to perform, what kind of setup you would like…And these have to be conveyed to the team manager. The mechanic prepares the car according to your specifications but at the end of the day, you are the one driving it, so there must be a bond between, as they say, man and the machine.

And as a driver, you gain another perspective of car engineering, from checking whether your suspension is right to ensuring your brakes are set up according to the race…As a driving instructor once told me: ‘It’s not a problem if you can’t start; it IS a problem if you can’t stop.’ So your brakes must be responsive and extremely good. Plus you also need to verify that your engine tuning is right.

Elwin, Joshua and Alban Raymond de Souza strategising. 

And in this race that I’m driving – the Saga Cup – the cars have carburettor engines. It’s a Proton Saga 1.5 using old technology. So, you don’t have computers to plug into. It is pretty much hands-on/manual in this regard. You can add on some modifications – for instance, an extractor or a more powerful exhaust or different air filter. So, there are certain things you can do to enhance the performance of your car.

There are a lot of elements when it comes to understanding and setting up the car, and this has not only to do with the engine. It has also to do with the suspension – you have a choice of having a hard setup at the front or stiffer one at the back or you’d probably want a balanced feel throughout. Even understanding tyre pressure. So many things to look into.

And another factor is including treatments such as X-1R into your car to ensure that the engine lasts whilst protecting the engine. And to give you a boost, there is the Octane Booster. The reason being is because we need consistent power and on the track, we are always on the rev. We don’t slow down. We have to keep the revs between 4000 to 6000rpm.

Going into a corner, we have to keep the revs up by utilising half-clutch or throttle out, so we need the proper delivery of the lubricants. Hence, these additives give us that consistent run.

The extra boost that Elwin was talking about.

A: It’s really good to learn about Joshua and how he as well as you started. And you pretty much gave us a great rundown of what it is like to be racer. That’s brilliant. What about the people in Team Millennium?

E: When I started with team Millennium in the first race, we had only six cars. But in this round four, we have 20 cars running in various categories. One of the bigger teams, I would say.

In this round, we have two celebrities racing for us: Leona Chin and blogger Hee. This definitely raises our profile. And we also have three drivers all the way from India. Adding to that, we have the three main ethnicities of Malaysia in one team: Malay, Chinese and Indian. So, we are a very much a muhibbah (togetherness) gang. We have gatherings during festivities and we’re a close bunch. This fosters a strong bond amongst us and it helps during races as everyone is helping one another.

Sorry, F1 fans. Your loss.

Simple things like, for instance, when someone doesn’t have a tyre gauge or wire cutter or need to use some other tools – simple but exceptionally important elements in a race. You have everyone working together. This is Satu Malaysia la (One Malaysia).

Ready to race.

Motorsports can take a huge amount of money and time, and Team Millennium is not a very big team, although we have a high number of cars running today. We are not a team with huge amounts of money that we can splurge with. But with teamwork and support from all, we do our best because we simply love cars and enjoy racing.

It’s great for the families too. At times, when dads are racing, you can see the wife and kids cheering him on. So, it’s really fun.

But of utmost importance is safety. That is critical in any race. All of us are equipped with the right safety outfit, like the gloves, the shoes, the suits. The full set, basically.

We still remember Paul…

A: What would be your advice, since you’re a daily driver as well as a racer, to these so-called ‘racers’ on the street?

E: This event offers a proper racing venue. It teaches people what driving fast is all about. Roads are meant for motorists to get from point A to point B, whereas the track is where you can compete with one another to see how fast you can go, in a relatively safe environment, where it doesn’t put the lives of others at risk. And these are proper race cars.

My advice for them is to come to the track and experience it. From here, you can let loose your eagerness to race, on a proper track. And we as Malaysians should be proud that we have a world-class circuit here in Sepang that not only caters to international races but is open for grassroots racing.

A: It was a pleasure talking to you and we learned a tremendous amount from you. Thank you. And all the best for the race.

E: You’re welcome. What we learn we must share with others. That is the only way to grow.

Doing whatever it takes to get the car running, even if it means getting into iiiinteresting positions.

A packed pit at Millennium Motorsports Asia.

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William, who suffered a puncture, is flustered that his run did not go well. Joshua and Wayne look on.

No time for intrusion. Everyone busy with their own thing.

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