From Stingrays to Sepang

by KV

KV just found out 3 of his female uni friends purchased new laptops to replace their spoilt ones just very recently. Which kinda demonstrates that something is quite not right with our fairer sex, since we guys tax our laptops waa-a-a-y more than the other species, yet ours are still working fine. Go figure. Yes, I am gladly, & justifiably, stereotyping! Even met a girl who never thought of the basic need to install an antivirus program, teeheee.

PPPPPIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!

Frankly, I have no idea how to construct a Formula One car sound with roman letters, but it sure was mind-blowing!

It all started when Ed the Meche Nerd & I the Meche Stud formed a partnership to participate in UTP’s Formula One Innovative Design Contest. What we had to do was to come up with our own conceptual design of a Formula One car using a design engineering software (CATIA/AutoCAD) & justify our design innovations. So, deciding to go all-out in our creative flair (since Ed is a CATIA maestro, making it a software-design reality would be quite possible) while taking a heck load of liberties with FiA’s rules & regulations, we designed with implementation of some radical concepts such as a covered driver cockpit, lowered engine air intake, oval sidepods, extended rear side bodies that sweep above the rear wheels, a 3-blade 2008-inspired front wing, & we topped it all off with a split rear wing, all in the name of aerodynamics – minimizing drag, increasing downforce, reducing rear turbulence – & more importantly, innovation. Our Formula One concept car was given the name The Stingray.

What Mr. Nerd & Mr. Stud we weren’t prepared for was actually qualifying for the final top 3 teams. Or that we had to present a formal technical presentation in UTP’s Chancellor Hall in the final. Or, even more significant, that the judges who would be evaluating us in the final are Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsports Director), Peter Sauber (Sauber Team Principal), & (are you ready for this) the BMW Sauber F1 drivers themselves, Robert Kubica & Nick Heidfeld.

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Robert Kubica & Nick Heidfeld during the autograph session at UTP Complex

Yup, in case you have not read it from the papers, the BMW Sauber F1 team dropped by UTP during the week leading up to Sepang for a Formula One-filled day of activities, coordinated by Petronas Motorsports & UTP. & one of the activities were the presentations by the finalists of the Innovative Design contest.

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Introducing our concept design

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Presenting at the Chancellor’s Hall in front of the crowd & the panel of judges

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Explaining how we tackled the surface pressure analysis factor into our design

We ended up as 2nd place winners. I think we presented well that day (based on feedback, since we had reporters & students coming up to us personally telling how impressed they were with our design & presentation), & the judges were not too hard on us (questions came from Heidfeld & Theissen, who commented that we were being very adventurous, haha). It was an exceptionally humbling experience, being my first technical presentation in front of the mighty BMW Sauber F1 bosses & drivers; yet what an opportunity it was! & me having to orally present in the intimidating Chancellor’s Hall was daunting yet memorable, & surprisingly I was not exactly nervous, so it was a first sign of how beneficial the PCS course was!

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All the winners with (from left) our Rector, Theissen, Sauber, Kubica & Heidfeld

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Supporters, thank you very much!

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Posing with UTP Rector, Datuk Dr. Zainal, & our mock ticket

Wait till you read what we won as prizes each. Sepang F1 Grandstand Diamond Corporate Platform tickets worth RM1950 each, a RM600 BMW Sauber F1 sling bag (ridiculously, & suspiciously, overpriced), & accomodation at Hotel Maya KL with certain meals provided from Thursday to Monday! Pretty awesome for what only started as a little creative afterthought eh?

So on Thursday, off the top 5 winners went on a fully-sponsored KL/Sepang tour trip that was jointly sponsored by ESPN & Petronas. We the UTP design winners were joined in the group by other contest winners from Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan & Indonesia, though their contest was not a design competition, rather a guess-the-champion kinda contest. But just like them, I was taking this trip as a welcomed honeymoon break from UTP life.

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Yawning before departure. Mak cik cleaner not coming along for the ride

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First thing upon reaching KL, check into a 5-star hotel

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With the most bubbly, fantastic, open-minded chaperone you can ever get, Miss Suhana

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This was taken during the 1st night buffet welcome dinner at the hotel, which was impeccable – huge oysters, sushis, sirloin steaks, marshmallows & berries dipped in chocolate fountain, topped off with Haagen-Dasz

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More sponsored goodies!

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With Jacinth & Juliana, our tour group coordinators from Leo Burnett, at the KLCC sky bridge

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At Menara KL with Pearl & Kiddick from Thailand

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The whole group – big hearty thanks to ESPN & Petronas from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia & Taiwan!

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Marching towards Sepang, Qualifying Day

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A wet Race Day: BMW Sauber supporters for the day. Petronas, please ignore the red bags

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Would have very much preferred to join these guys: the prancing horse of Scuderia Ferrari has always been in my heart since I was a kid

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Couldn’t resist a Ferrari polo tee, RM300 hangus. Ed also puchased one though he wasn’t a Ferrari fan at all, damn potong stim for loyal fans like I

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Having corporate platform ticks allows you a free Golf GTi ride from the gate to the grandstands

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With my old Mercedes-Benz Malaysia colleagues, Anida & Liz, at the Mercedes-Benz booth. How I miss them, such delightful colleagues they were during my internship there

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Anida: “Tahun nih got your McLaren SLR kat display!”

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Pictures like these make me feel tall & huge.

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Juliana & Jacinth showing who’s behind all this

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The F1 drivers performing their publicity duties. Apologies to Petronas, Kubica & Heidfeld, for I was cheering for Raikkonen

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The gorgeous M-Benz AMG safety & medic cars. I was drooling at the SL63 AMG, that babe purred like no other

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If cars are not your thing, there are always the local women to oggle at

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But if local women are not your cup of tea, salivate at imported babes then

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The teams setting up at the grid for the formation lap. Thank you Kimi for qualifying P7, for you were directly in front of us! Watching the extremely thorough Ferrari engineers & crew working was an inspirational moment

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1 of the main reasons I was looking forward to, seeing my idol – Michael Schumacher, the only driver who was as mean as the machine he drove. He waved back at us when I joined the crowd in hollering his name. The sore throat was worth it, could have died a happy man that day.

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It’s Kimi Raikkonen! Looking as oblivious-to-the-crowd as ever

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He didn’t even look remotely interested in shaking Najib’s hand, it was quite obvious Kimi did not give a shit

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When the race started, let’s just say…thank God for those ear plugs

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20 V8 engines rumbling together waiting for the red lights to go off, & screaming away towards the first corner…the sound was so unbelievable I could have shat, or shitted…whatever, in my pants. The sound itself was worth the admission price. You have got to hear it LIVE

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Button in his overperforming Brawn GP

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A lying arrogant wanker called Hamilton in his underperforming McLaren

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You would have known by now that the race was later red-flagged because of the rain & looming darkness

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Which led to rather bizarre scenes

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A picture-perfect moment of the BMW Sauber crew packing up in the pits after the race

1 of the disadvantages of watching an actual Grand Prix live is that we totally had no idea what the hell was happening, & amongst the confusion, the rather horrible commentary (or rather, mumbling) over the grandstand speakers did not help. However, putting aside the red flag & the wait & all, the race was a sublime strategic face-off coupled with spellbinding tactical brilliance, with half of the racing done in the pits. Absolutely insane stuff, & it would have been perfect if the race was eventually restarted, but well, we can’t have it all.

After the race, we had free admission to the Jamiroquai after-race concert held at the helipad area just beside the race track. Corporate hospitality was again being blessed upon us as we had a special viewing stage for corporate ticket holders, along with free food & flow of drinks, beer & wine included. Incredibly, not even the constant downpour could dampen the crowd’s spirits, & Jamiroquai was pretty much in their element. Even though their songs sounded pretty much the same,  they certainly brought the funk to Sepang. The muddy grounds were not very kind to my Porsches though.

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View from the corporate stage, Jamiroquai strutting their stuff onstage

Eventually, all good things come to an end, & we discovered that the end of our honeymoon break arrived only too soon on Monday.

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Miss Suhana doing her last jig (hangover from Jamiroquai the night before) before returning to her daily executive responsibilities in UTP

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Departure back to Tronoh. Rats.

& after 5 days of 5-star treatment, I have to start getting used to the idea of not waking up in the morning to a hot shower & buffet breakfast.

Thanks all for the gorgeous pictures, especially to the DSLRs of Cem & Saf!

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