'(00) Karts with F1 Legend Jean Alesi and takes 2nd place!

Tom

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Tom

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Just last month, we were given an exclusive opportunity to drive up the Genting hills with Jean Alesi in a loaner Exige S provided by Lotus Cars Malaysia. To put into perspective: Up close and personal with F1 legend, Jean Alesi and an Exige S for 4 days. It was Jean's last day in Malaysia before his return to Geneva. I thought that'd be the best time of my life, yet. I was wrong.

We received an invite from Proton on a Sunday morning stating:

"MEDIA GO KART CHALLENGE WITH AN F1 LEGEND - Show off your karting skills against Formula One legend, Jean Alesi"

  • Date: Tuesday, 5 April 2011
  • Time: 9.00 am
  • Venue: Speedway Plus Circuit, KM8, USJ Rest & Service Area, ELITE Highway
  • Attire: As appropriate –please wear suitable karting shoes. See you there!

This would mean friends from the websites, magazines and papers will all be there, including the almighty Jean Alesi. Instinctively, a reply was sent to the source with a "I AM IN!".

In an effort to appreciate the media's support and to celebrate the upcoming Malaysian F1 GP, Proton and Lotus decided to organize a Go Kart challenge in conjunction with Jean Alesi's stay in Malaysia for the week.



I haven't been Karting for some months now and didn't think i'd stand a chance against the elites but what the heck, it's just going to be a fun day for me and i'd be really happy just to Kart with the legend. Especially since it's going to be on a circuit.



The Elite Speedway Plus Circuit is a 1.07 KM circuit and has plenty of elevation changes and slight cambering with a lot of green and scenery to take in. Almost like a scaled down version of a road-based race circuit common in Europe. Unlike the baby-smooth go kart circuit in Sepang that requires plenty of precision, the Elite Speedway Plus is rather teeth-jarring yet challenging and allows for multiple entries and exits.



It is located within an R&R area along the Elite Highway, now sporting a new operator, Raycer Powerhouse who've recently shifted their operations from Sepang just last month.



So what's the Challenge really about?

Equipment: 4 Stroke Birel Fun Kart

  1. About 40 Media representatives in groups of 4
  2. Practice Runs for all groups
  3. Top 25 Qualifies to Semi Finals into groups of 3
  4. Top 3s from each 3 Group moves into Finals to race against Jean Alesi



Go Kart allocation is randomized. One may receive a lousier machine than the other



Even selected Proton Communication staffs were in for the fun (in grey + yellow collars)



Some starts off with a strong hand and a thumbs up



But returns with jellied hands from the jarring ride



Trying to Qualify for Top 25!!...



Without being distracted.



Traffic Mag Online boys and a Hypertune Boy



Harvinder Sidhu from Paultan.org raced with me in Top 25's Group B. We were leading the group and was neck to neck and he takes me in turn 8 (or something) at the last 4 laps. It was intense right up till finish!. So, Harvinder - 1, Tom - 2.



Jean Alesi makes a surprise arrival halfway through



"mmhmm, yes, yes, Silvester Stallone used to be my stuntman in some of my previous GP crashes.."



Jean checks out his new Nolan helmet, which will eventually be given to the Champ of the day



Some of the 9 Finalists to race against the Legend!! (not including the Emcee)



It's Jean's virgin run on the Speedway Plus. He gets 2 practice laps - A Snap of the fingers for him.



Makes brief checks to his tiny F1 replica - Car No.1 at Pole Position on the Grid!



Does look like he's coping well with the tired Go Kart that has seen much better days.



Jean negotiates the hairpin - Turns in late..



Clips the Apex..



Exits wide..



Meanwhile.. Race Starts. Gino Rosato and Anita watches from the side



Checkered Flag! Race ends, Jean follows up with an interview from TV3



Race summary, started at 5th position on the grid, lost 2 places at the start of the race and slowly made way through the pack and had a few close shave with a couple of drivers spinning out ahead, managed to catch up with the race leaders, and just barely managed to pass Botak from trafficmagonline.com from the inside, braking really late, and then finally close in on Jean. Head to head with no opportunities to pass Jean at the straights and in the corners. Jean Alesi - 1 , Tom Goh - 2



Race De-briefing for Jean



As the stewards process the data Jean poses for the camera



A shot fit for GQ



Boys from Wemotor.com



Lunch Buffet continues



Time for a speech from Proton



VIPs Chill out on the couch



Oh Kah Beng was there to join the excitement



Appreciation plaques to the participants



Dennis a.k.a Koolspyda the guy with the kool wide-body MR-S



we, motor.



Ian Khong, also bound to be a Malaysian motoring legend - He receives "The Most Daring Driver" title.



2nd Runner Up



1st Runner Up



Second place. Words can't describe the pleasure of being able to race with one of the gods of F1, let alone go head to head with one for laps so satisfying, even just for that 3 laps being just inches and feets behind yet at times, trying to taunt the almighty one.



In a Fun-Kart. Such a fragile machine that for any bad move you make, slows you down like shit. So you're forced to turn really widely just so the front tyres not grip too hard, making it easier for the small little engine to breath(at least for me). So I now believe, when in a race with great drivers, even the Fun-Kart can be, if not more competitive than the 100cc 2-stroke Karts. Of course, especially the rental fun-karts, can differ in performance. I feel for those who were surviving on that bad random kart. It can be very frustrating. Trust me, i know from a previous experience.



The Helmet in an acrylic show case. What a prize!



Jean Alesi answers questions from the floor





Here's a picture of the prized Jean Alesi autographed Helmet

 

Won

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

Tom - what an experience. Wish I had that opportunity! Great write-up, great pics! ...and nice distractions! ;)
 

BadBoyBen

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

Well done! Now you definitely have to join the Lotus family!
 

Tom

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Tom

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

thanks everyone, it's the best experience for me ever!
 

koolspyda

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

for those who werent there, Tom gave alesi plenty to think about in the finals
(even if it was suppose to be all 'fun')!

jean alesi wasn't sunday karting, well maybe for the first 5 minutes :driver:
but still enough to be in lead pack.

Towards the latter part, he (alesi) was driving over kerbs as tom's kart breathing down on alesi after overtaking others. Maxing out at corners, alesi kept an eye at tom as he orchestrated his lines to stay ahead (of tom), which was quite a compliment to tom's karting skills!

You should see the sign of relief on alesi's face as he went straight to congrats tom at the end of chequered flag!

Alesi was all perspiring, not just because of the noon heat, but seeing jean's face (at end race), you probably feel & guess he did dig into some of his glorious talent to stay in front of tom!
(legends reputation not tarnished!)

i was only privilege enough to watch from the sides while tom was grinding kerbs with alesi (jealous)!

good fun & tom's the man!
 

andrewk

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andrewk

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

Nice writeup Tom and congrats!
 

Tom

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Tom

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

for those who werent there, Tom gave alesi plenty to think about in the finals
(even if it was suppose to be all 'fun')!

jean alesi wasn't sunday karting, well maybe for the first 5 minutes :driver:
but still enough to be in lead pack.

Towards the latter part, he (alesi) was driving over kerbs as tom's kart breathing down on alesi after overtaking others. Maxing out at corners, alesi kept an eye at tom as he orchestrated his lines to stay ahead (of tom), which was quite a compliment to tom's karting skills!

You should see the sign of relief on alesi's face as he went straight to congrats tom at the end of chequered flag!

Alesi was all perspiring, not just because of the noon heat, but seeing jean's face (at end race), you probably feel & guess he did dig into some of his glorious talent to stay in front of tom!
(legends reputation not tarnished!)

i was only privilege enough to watch from the sides while tom was grinding kerbs with alesi (jealous)!

good fun & tom's the man!
what a report dennis!
was a shame i didn't have an on-board camera

I really enjoyed the view i had being behind Jean, if i may say, since we're both new to the circuit, i felt similarities in our lines throughout the race, though Jean was even maxing out the width of the straights driving on the concrete before taking turn 1. just awesome

i'd be returning to Elite Speedway Plus for a good time soon, anyone care to join?
 

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

Tom; never had a proper karting session before. If you would care to organize one, I'd be more than up for it ;)
 

Tom

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Tom

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

okay then, sounds good, I think the moderators would be joining as well, i will discuss with them :)
 

koolspyda

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

what a report dennis!
was a shame i didn't have an on-board camera

I really enjoyed the view i had being behind Jean, if i may say, since we're both new to the circuit, i felt similarities in our lines throughout the race, though Jean was even maxing out the width of the straights driving on the concrete before taking turn 1. just awesome

i'd be returning to Elite Speedway Plus for a good time soon, anyone care to join?
hey, just telling it as i saw it!! yeah, it shd have been videoed.

there are few moments, he had a quick look over, pretty sure he also knew you were very (too) close. man, seeing him not giving a milimetre, maxing corners, flying over kerbs, jean was really sweating it out!

i too floored the long back straights (even over kerbs), trying to keep max speed at any given straights but the 'kart' choice was favouring me. if my kart didnt splutter for power everytime at certain corners, i just might shave 2-3seconds each lap. :driver: excuses, i know :biggrin: & dem jealous of your NOLAN! heeheh

karting is fun, not sure if the karts here or at shah alam is better, though the circuit layout at elite is excellent with mixture of straights & corners!
 

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

i wanna race toooo :cry:
 

Tom

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Tom

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

hey, just telling it as i saw it!! yeah, it shd have been videoed.

there are few moments, he had a quick look over, pretty sure he also knew you were very (too) close. man, seeing him not giving a milimetre, maxing corners, flying over kerbs, jean was really sweating it out!

i too floored the long back straights (even over kerbs), trying to keep max speed at any given straights but the 'kart' choice was favouring me. if my kart didnt splutter for power everytime at certain corners, i just might shave 2-3seconds each lap. :driver: excuses, i know :biggrin: & dem jealous of your NOLAN! heeheh

karting is fun, not sure if the karts here or at shah alam is better, though the circuit layout at elite is excellent with mixture of straights & corners!
thanks again dennis, interesting. looks like it was as intense for spectators at the pits as it were for us. my wish of just driving with Jean turned out to be something unforgettable
 

phat7

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Re: Proton + Lotus Media Go Kart Challenge with F1 Legend Jean Alesi

Awesome stuff! so jealous of the helmet :P Good one Tom!