Singapore’s Muhammad Aleef put in an almost faultless performance at the GR Supra GT Cup Asia Regional Final 2020 last week, scoring two wins and a third place to cement victory and qualify for the Global Final, which will be held in December.
ONE Esports caught up with the champion after the competition to get his thoughts on the races and his plans moving forward.
In Race 1 – Fuji Speedway – Aleef started strong, claiming pole position in qualifying, albeit by the slimmest of margins.
“It was probably the most important thing to have gotten pole position in the first race,” he said. “I didn’t really show my true pace in the test races so mentally I was trying to figure out what my true pace would be. Going into qualifying, it felt like a victory in itself to pump out a laptime as fast as that when it mattered the most!”
The first race started as a fierce battle between Aleef and Malaysia’s Taj Aiman, but a pivotal moment saw Aiman make a slight error, resulting in a penalty. This enabled Aleef to build a relatively comfortable lead early on, and calm any nerves.
“It was unfortunate for Aiman, as I was looking forward to some hard racing against him!” said Aleef.
“Fuji is such a tricky circuit to get right,” he continued. “But I personally loved the challenge of trying to eke out the last few tenths out of the Supra!”
Aleef was able to claim a relatively straightforward win at the next race in Tokyo after another rival again struck misfortune, this time it was Thailand’s Nat Sirigaya.
“The first corner was very tricky with cold tyres,” explained Aleef. “And with the strict penalty system, I was trying my best to not hit Nat Sirigaya when he just about misjudged his braking point.”
With two wins under his belt, Aleef was in the driving seat, but he wasn’t home yet, as the last race would be the formidable Nurburgring Nordschleife — a very challenging circuit. The race for first overall was still up for grabs.
“I treated qualifying as a clean slate,” said Aleef of the mindset going into that final race. “After just missing out on pole by a tiny margin of 0.068s, I turned my attention to bringing the car home as safely as possible, all while keeping in mind that if an opportunity for the win presented itself, I needed to be in a good position to grab it.”
Despite a clean run that saw him in second for most of the race, Aleef received a penalty that dropped him to third place.
“In the instant, it was more of a bit of confusion,” Aleef said of the penalty, “but after that, I started thinking about the long game and to limit any further damage. Thankfully Iqbal Suji who was in fourth was still at arm’s length, so my focus turned to holding onto third place.”
Aleef finished the race in third, giving him enough points to finish in first-place overall and become Asian regional champion.
“I’m feeling very excited and motivated at the prospect of going into another Global Finals in a different game,” said Aleef on his victory. “I’m expecting the competition to be brutal and of the highest quality with the best drivers in the world there, so I’ll be working closely with my team, Legion of Racers, to help gain the crucial few tenths of a second!”
As for his longterm goals, Aleef said, “My goal is to be World Champion one day, and to compete with the best regularly as I generally enjoy good competition. Eventually, it would be great if an opportunity comes through Sim Racing to move onto real-world racing, but it’s not too shabby here in the Sim Racing World!
Aleef will represent Asia at the GR Supra GT Cup Global Final in December.