The background to Petronas

Published: 25 November 2001

PETRONAS is one of the biggest names to join WSB since the championship started in 1988. It was formed in 1974 as the national petroleum company of Malaysia and having established itself in the domestic market, Petronas expanded globally in the early 1990s.

The firm now has more than 100 subsidiaries and associated companies with interests in 25 countries. It is also listed in the world’s top 500 largest companies.

Petronas has a massive sponsorship portfolio in motorsports, with the Sauber Formula One team one of its biggest recipients.

In 1996, they formed Sauber Petronas Engineering (SPE), and this is the company behind Foggy. This isn’t the first time SPE has produced machinery for the commercial market. In 1998, Petronas commissioned Sauber to build a two-litre, four-cylinder car engine that made more than 200bhp.

Petronas’ own involvement in bike racing started back in 1992, when Malaysian motorcycle racer Tong Veng Kit joined forces with Petronas.

His vision was to take a homegrown team into a world championship and that goal was achieved in 2000, when Petronas entered the 250 world series. Tong was not around to see it as he was killed in a road accident in 1998.

Petronas is also involved in sponsoring a Proton British touring car team for the first time in 2002.