The Nurburgring is a world famous race track, one that has been graced by motorsports legends such as Niki Lauda in high performance cars over the years. But did you ever think you’d live to see a local Teksi make its way around the circuit? Probably not—but 2020 has been a year of firsts, hasn’t it?
Jochem and Ruben Gravemade, twin brothers from the Netherlands, have shared their journey in getting a fully-specced taxi version of the Proton Wira onto the track. Speaking to Malay Mail, the brothers explained why they chose to go with one of Malaysia’s most popular local cars, and why they chose to dress it up in the traditional red-and-white taxi colours:
“There are companies that offer programmes where you get to race high-performance cars around the Nurburgring for a couple of hundred Euros called Ring Taxi. So, we decided that we were going to build off that concept of a “ring taxi” and build a proper lookalike taxi.”
In case you were wondering, the brothers spent much of their early years in Malaysia. In fact, the description for the brothers’ Instagram page says that they are “Dutch Born Malaysian Bred”. As such, Jochem explains that he has “Malaysia in his blood”, with the Proton Wira being a tribute to their time in Malaysia.
“We’ve always had a soft spot for Malaysia — and for its cars too. When we thought of this idea to make a ring taxi, Proton Saga and Wira kept coming to mind, because it is such a common and iconic car.”
“We thought it would be a nice mesh to bring the Malaysian model into the equation with the playoff of the whole idea of a ring taxi with our Project Proton.”
“Project Proton”, as the brothers call it, has been in the works since July 2019. The brothers first bought a Wira 1.3 GL in Germany, although attempts to refurbish the old car didn’t quite work out. Instead, the brothers found an Aeroback version of the Wira for sale, upgraded “everything you can think of”, and decked it out in the traditional red and white colours of Malaysian taxis.
But the likeness to the proud Proton Wira taxi isn’t simply aesthetic. Ruben said that they also found and installed an original taxi meter via a friend in Penang, while there are plans for a “Teksi Bermeter” light to sit atop the car.
So far, the refurbished (and upgraded) Proton Wira has completed eight laps on the Nurburgring, with around 160km of racing already completed. The car did really well, Ruben says, and it even beat a Porsche 911—although the Porsche driver possibly wasn’t too familiar with the track.
As for future plans? The brothers are leveraging off the power of social media to connect with Wira enthusiasts from Malaysia, and one of the ideas that they’re going to try is a MIVEC engine upgrade—a concept that will be familiar to Wira owners over the years.