The company provided two standard Octavia 1.4 TSIs to use in the Asia Auto Gymkhana Competition 2019 Driver Selection.
Photos: Skoda Singapore, Loo Han Wei
If you were at The Grandstand at Bukit Timah on Saturday, March 16, you may have noticed that one of the carparks there had been taken over for a motorsports event.
You may also have been surprised to see that, instead of highly modified sports cars tearing up the tarmac, there was a stickered-up but otherwise bone-stock Skoda Octavia trying to keep up with everything the drivers could throw at it.
That’s because Skoda Singapore was the official car provider for the Asia Auto Gymkhana Competition (AAGC) 2019 Driver Selection in Singapore. AAGC is a regional gymkhana series that pits nations from across Asia against each other, and to ensure a level playing field, each round is competed in identical showroom-standard cars.
This is why the Octavia was present, as the AAGC Selection comprised of two segments to find the fastest drivers to represent Singapore: the first would see participants take to the course in their own cars, while the second would see them taking turns in the Octavia to tackle a different layout. Results were determined based on the combination of the fastest run from each segment.
Gymkhana involves drivers memorising and then maneuvering through a tight, intricate course through and around various cones, barrels, and other obstacles, so naturally, you might think that a comfortable, spacious car like an Octavia would be ill-suited to such a high-intensity activity.
Yet, it was this extra challenge that prompted Skoda to step up to the plate.
Said Mr Ricky Tay, Managing Director of Skoda Singapore, “We thought the Gymkhana event was a great opportunity to put the Octavia 1.4 to the test and for some of the most skilful drivers in Singapore to demonstrate its performance and agility.”
“Motorsport is very much a part of the Škoda DNA; the brand has been involved in motorsport since 1901. In fact, the Octavia played an important role in Škoda’s motorsport ambitions, when the company used it to enter the top flight of rallying for the first time in the 1960’s.”
In the end, the Octavia stood up perfectly to the task despite being far out of its comfort zone, impressing the drivers and organisers alike.
Mr Sylvester Lim (below, right), co-organiser of the event said, “It was a difficult task to obtain the support of local car agents to provide a neutral showroom car for the driver selection, and we were very fortunate to have Skoda Singapore take up the challenge.”
“We were a little apprehensive that the Skoda Octavia was a little large for the tight circuit, but it performed fantastically and handled very well under the hands of the experienced gymkhana drivers. Needless to say, all the drivers came away with good things to say about the Skoda Octavia. Again, a big thank you to the Skoda Singapore team.”