KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is seeing a lot more action these days from Singaporean racing enthusiasts who don’t mind the journey across the Causeway just to burn rubber on the former Formula One track.
As many as five days in a month have been booked by Singapore groups since the border between the two South-east Asian countries reopened on April 1 last year, after the Covid-19 lockdowns, The Straits Times reported yesterday.
“Driving on a track is safer than being on the road. This is a safe environment to learn about cars and about driving,” 53-year-old Daniel Yong who is part of the 300-member Traction Circle Club founded in 2002 told the Singapore daily.
The Traction Circle Club reportedly hosted seven track days at the SIC this year with the most recent one on October 28.
Citing several organiser groups, the daily also reported that the Singapore groups are willing to pay between RM1,043 to RM2,783 per session to race their own vehicles on the SIC.
At each session, there would be around 80 or more cars driving in the circuit. However, the most exclusive and expensive track days have just 10 cars.
According to the report, on SIC open days, any driver can pay RM300 online for an hour on the SIC.
The SIC had put Malaysia on the Formula One map when it first hosted the races in 1999, until it stopped in 2017, attributing the high cost of hosting fees and a slump in ticket sales as unjustifiable.
Nowadays, it is being used for track sessions for both car and motorcycle racing enthusiasts.
The Straits Times cited Arthur Wong from ACM Automobiles saying that track sessions are popular as they are more organised compared to the post-pandemic days, with catered meals and event t-shirts provided.
Joseph Lee from SBR Trackdays told the newspaper that he has seen 20 to 30 new riders emerge at each of the six sessions he has organised this year alone.
Each session runs from 9am to 6pm for two days and sees up to 220 riders per session.
The SIC is reportedly regularly maintained and kept up to date to fulfil the requirements of the MotoGP World Championship and Malaysia Championship Series.