29 October 2017 – 130 participants – 74 local and 56 regional – are still in the running for the Grand Prize at Asia's most extreme endurance challenge, the Mediacorp Subaru Car Challenge, which kicked off at 1pm yesterday afternoon, at Ngee Ann City's Civic Plaza. Despite intermittent showers, the temperatures at the arena stayed warm and humidity levels remained high at 91%.
The Challenge, which returns for its 16th year, brings together a total of 320 local participants and 80 regional participants from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. These hopefuls will battle fatigue, sleep deprivation and extreme weather conditions in the Subaru arena at Ngee Ann City's Civic Plaza, in hopes of winning the Grand Prize: a Subaru XV 2.0i-S, worth S$65,000 without Certificate of Entitlement (COE).
For the first time ever, this year's Challenge will offer an additional prize of S$5,000 to the winning corporate or school team of 10, with the longest combined time across each individual team member. Two teams are in the running for this new prize category – Team Subaru Alumni and Team Red Elites & TCA Pte Ltd.
Team Subaru Alumni, as its name suggests, is made up of Car Challenge veterans, with all team members having participated in at least three or, and as many as 12 times before. At least two members – Abdul Hamid Bin Jonid and Analiza Bte Mohktar – have also made it to second-place previously. Most might also recall Analiza narrowly missing out on the Grand Prize in the 2016 edition, clocking in at 75 hours and 57 minutes, and being the last female participant standing. The last time she came this close to winning was in 2014.
When asked about her decision to return for the eleventh time this year, Analiza, a freelance writer, said that she reviewed footage from her experience last year and spotted key mistakes like not moving around much during her breaks, and has resolved to take small runs around the vehicle during her break this time round. Looking determined, Analiza said, "I want to do things differently, and to see that with this improvement, can I complete this challenge? If I don't, this will probably be my last challenge."
On the other end of the challenge arena, Team Red Elites & TCA Pte Ltd is made up primarily of former commandos who remain passionate about continuing the camaraderie and brotherhood that they enjoyed when serving as a unit. Aside from actively organising charity projects and gatherings among their ex-commando mates, the former red-berets decided they wanted to sign up for the Car Challenge together this year, and encourage each other on.
Visitors and supporters to this year's challenge can also win tickets to Grammy-award-winning singer, Michael Bolton's Asian Dream Tour in Singapore, and Asanoya bakery vouchers. One need only visit the Subaru booth and obtain a stamp from the respective counters – DUO Rewards, Subaru Merchandise, Asanoya Bakery and Concierge Chiropractic & Rehabilitation – and answer a simple question to stand a chance to win. Three prizes will be given out daily till Tuesday. Aside from concert ticket giveaways, visitors and supporters can also catch Michael Bolton when he makes a live appearance at the Car Challenge arena on 30 October (Monday) at 6.00pm.
This year, supporters will play a crucial role which may make or break the contestants. Additional rest breaks can be given to contestants with supporters who take part in an online game at carchallenge.sg. The top 10 game scorers on the scoreboard will earn their supported participant an extra 5-minute break. The scoreboard will reset after every break and the online game will end upon the last 10 standing contestants.
To win the Grand Prize, contestants need to place their right palms firmly within the surface area of the palm decals and be the last one standing. They will be given a 5-minute break once every six hours throughout the competition.
In addition to being eligible for the Grand Prize, regional contestants will also compete for additional titles and cash prizes. The title of Country Winner and a cash prize of S$1,000 will be awarded to the final standing representative of each participating region. The last standing regional contestant will win the Asian Winner title and walk away with an additional S$5,000 cash. The country or region, whose participants have the longest combined standing time, will be awarded the Country Team Winner title along with a cash prize of S$10,000 to be equally divided among the team.
For more information and updates, please visit toggle.sg/carchallenge.