Mar 13 2012
Given the country’s love affair with cars, it should come as no surprise that the biggest sporting event of the year in Malaysia is the Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit. Held ever since 1999, it has become one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures of the F1 World Championship, and attracts hordes of petrol-heads from near and far.
The Sepang Circuit, which is about 70 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur, has been built to be technically challenging, but also give drivers plenty of opportunities to overtake. With the unpredictable weather added to the mix, it can be counted on to provide lots of thrills and spills, for drivers and spectators alike.
The 2012 season kicks off in Melbourne on Sunday March 18, with the whole F1 circus shifting to Sepang next, for the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix, on Sunday March 25. The season has been extended to 20 races this year, a sign of the growing global appeal of the sport.
The 2012 season looks set to be fiercely contested, with a record six drivers who have won the world championship in the mix. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), Jenson Button (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) and Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) have 12 titles between them. The man they will all be trying to beat will be Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, the two-time reigning world champion.
The Grand Prix itself is the culmination of three days of motor-racing fun, starting with Formula One practice and qualifying for GP2 and Malaysian Super Series races on March 23 (10:00-17:55); then F1 practice and qualifying the following day, interspersed with GP2 and Malaysian Super Series racing (09:55-17:00); and finally more GP2 and Malaysian Super Series racing on the 25th, before the main event gets underway at 16:00. Follow this link for a full programme.
Tickets, which range from a reasonable 63 ringitt to a whopping 1,763 ringgit, are selling fast, s0 if you want to go, speed is of the essence. They can be bought online and collected at the circuit. Have a look at the map below, or follow this link, for an idea of where the seating is round the circuit.
Although the Grand Prix is the highlight of the year at Sepang, the circuit is far from being a one-trick pony. During 2012 it will also host the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (August 31-September 1); the Malaysian MotoGP (October 19); the Sepang 100okm Endurance Race (December 3); as well as several rounds of both the Malaysian Super Series and the Sepang Drag Battle.
If watching isn’t enough for you, Sepang also provides opportunities to put your inner Michael Schumacher to the test, including go-karting, and experiencing what it’s like to drive or ride round a race circuit at speed. Follow this link for the full list of activities and prices.
Getting to the circuit by public transport is not possible except on big race days, when Skybus runs various special services, ranging from 10 ringgit from LCCT to 36 ringgit from KL Sentral and KLCC. The cheapest option is to get to LCCT by the normal airport buses, and catch the Skybus shuttle there.
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