Category Archives: Sepang International Circuit

Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malaysia

Sepang 12 hours 2015 Debrief

Sepang 12h was one of those must-do events I’ve been contemplating for ages, and now I could say I’ve finally done it. In it’s current reincarnation the event was put together by the SRO  together with SIC (Sepang International Circuit) as a precursor to the upcoming SRO Intercontinental GT Challenge, which in the future will include the Bathurst 12h event in Australia as well as the crown event of the Blancpain GT series: Spa 24h in Belgium.

Things came together for the event thanks to a friend’s wedding I wanted to attend in Bangkok the week prior. I was very excited that things came together so nicely, though the actual registration was a bit of an up and down experience. I really wanted to try my hand doing something new this time around. After reaching out to some contacts I had hoped to be in Pit Lane as a Pit & Grid marshal. But I noticed some resistance from the very beginning especially since I wanted to bring a fellow Singaporean marshal along to give him a new experience. After a little more inquiry it was clear that Pit wasn’t going happen for me, so I asked my friends at Turn 6 to take me back to make sure I get to volunteer and not become a spectator. My buddy Joey was accepted by a friend that chiefs a post on Turn 7. And we were set to go. When I arrived at the track I discovered that I was indeed put on the Pit & Grid team. I felt bad, and wanted to see if I could work at least one day in the pits and then move back to my team trackside, but that wasn’t possible. And I’m sure I made a number of people from the Pit & Grid team very unhappy.

But the day to day work at Turn 6 went along very smoothly. It was fantastic to see the team again, though many of them weren’t present and we worked on a skeleton crew of just a handful of people. I took advantage of the opportunity to visit Turn 7 a bunch of times over the weekend, where they gave me a chance to Blue flag a little and that made me very happy.

Having a rental car for the first time in Malaysia allowed me to visit the pit lane several times over the weekend whenever we had some free time. So I got plenty of pictures from the garages and ultimately from the Pit Walk on race day. I even managed to bring a British marshal who was spectating, to check out the station set up (with permission from the post chief of course). It was amazing.

The race itself was relatively uneventful. This being the rainy season caused two red flags to be displayed during the 12 hour race. Resulting in some much needed breaks for us to take around dinner time while the skies opened up and there was a spectacular lightning storm overhead. It was pretty beautiful. At the start of the event the local Clearwater Ferrari team jumped ahead which I thought was predictable. But they ran into trouble with repeated tire blowouts. And then a number of other cars took the lead including a beautiful livery Thai Ferrari. A french McLaren jumped ahead, while the Bentley’s seemed to struggle mid pack. And then Audi took the lead until the very end, winning the race (this being an SRO event, that seemed predictable also).

And then after the feature race there was a local race day on Sunday featuring Formula 4 SEA cup and Caterham Racing Series. The day was incredibly sleepy and only got exciting when the skies opened up again with a much heaving downpour than the day before. The day ended with a fantastic dinner with my fellow Teammates at a local TomYum restaurant around the corner from the track… I absolutely loved this opportunity and would love to return again.

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Can’t wait to return to Sepang International Circuit again!

Post Card from Sepang 12 Hour Endurance Race in Malaysia

My last event of the 2015 racing season took me to Malaysia for the Sepang 12 hour at Sepang International Circuit.

This was by far one of the more exciting events I’ve done this season, for a variety of reasons. First, I was back in Southeast Asia, perhaps my favorite region in the world to visit. I got to catch up with a bunch of friends I’ve made over the past few visits to Sepang, and I even managed to sneak in a fellow Singaporean marshal to volunteer with me to get a new experience for him.

All in all a great experience. A typical Malaysian weather to experience, and some excellent international machinery on display.

I loved it thru and thru!

Some pix from Pit Walk:

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Stay tuned for more pictures from the post…

Sepang 12 hours Provisional Entry List for the December 2015 Race

Great news! SRO and SIC have released the entry list for the upcoming Sepang 12 hours endurance GT race and the list is pretty lengthy full of exotic machinery including Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborhini Super Trofeo Huracan, Audi R8 LMS Cup, Porsche 991 and 997 GT3 Cup, McLaren 650S, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and of course a Honda Civic Type R, Toyota GT86 and a Subaru STi Imprezza to balance things out. Oh yeah, there’s a Lotus Exige there too, a total field of about 26 cars if they all show up.

sepang-12-hours-entry-list

Download: click here.

What’s really interesting about this entry list is not so much who’s on it but where I found it. With SRO’s new involvement in a partnership with Sepang International Circuit (SIC) this event is part of a bigger picture. And I don’t mean like Asian Le Mans Series was (which was the last event I marshaled at Sepang a few years ago), but instead it’s part of a new SRO series called Intercontinental GT Challenge which will also include the world famous Spa 24h race – the crown jewel of the Blancpain Endurance and Sprint Series. As well as a new event at COTA if that place doesn’t go out of business, and Bathurst 12h. What’s most interesting about the Bathurst connection is that’s where I found the entry list posted, not on the Sepang 12h web site but on the Bathurst 12h web site.

I think this points to good things to come in the near future .

I’m excited!

Buy a #MarshalCam Patch. American or Australian Versions. Or Both!

A few things to accomplish in this post:

1st: I wish to express my gratitude to my buddy Joey in Singapore for designing the Marshal Cam patches which I have recently re-ordered to distribute to marshals that participate in my interviews about their volunteering experiences.

2nd: I will have both versions of the patch with me at the following events to distribute to marshals that wish to participate in my interviews:

  • WEC 6h of the Americas at COTA in September
  • Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October
  • Sepang 12h – Malaysia in December
  • Bathurst 12h – Australia in February
  • Auckland Car Club – New Zealand in February

3rd: If I am not at an event near you and you’d really like to get a patch for your collection, you are welcome to buy one or many. Just get in touch about pricing and shipping charges and we could set up a package for you in no time.

The patches cost me $400 USD for 400 pieces. My break even point is to sell 100 patches at $4 USD apiece (or more at a cheaper price). Plus shipping and handling charges which killed me the last time I mailed out a ton of the original Marshal Cam patches, paying for everything out of my own pocket.

I am going through serious withdrawal right now, my last event was NASCAR at Watkins Glen in early August and it’s been a month without any volunteering whatsoever. So I’m eager to get back to the race track. I’m also very much looking forward to traveling again. Especially to my trip back to Southeast Asia!

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For any of you on the list of stops above I’ll be sure to have patches with me if you’d like to meet over lunch or dinner and catch up about marshaling in your neck of the woods. I’m sure that besides my right hand drive Miata exploits in Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur I’ll be hanging out with some marshal friends too.

Again, huge thanks to Joey in Singapore for designing these awesome patches, they look fantastic!

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The original Red, White and Blue design resembles the American Interstate system sign. While the Green and Yellow design resembles the Australian Interstate system sign. They were designed specifically for my trip to Bathurst in February of next year, and I’m very much looking forward to that journey.

Stay tuned for more, and get in touch if you want one, or a bunch!

#MarshalCam

Flights Booked to a Wedding in Bangkok and Sepang 12h Piggybacked on That Trip

Just a few days ago I was day dreaming how nice it would be to go back to Southeast Asia after almost two years of being away, and I found a perfect excuse to commit to it: my FlyerTalker friend Brian is marrying a beautiful Thai girl in Bangkok a week before Sepang 12h.

Score!

This is going to be such an amazing journey I can’t find words.

This is also the first time I’ve paid for a flight to Southeast Asia, all of my previous trips, and there were plenty of them, were booked using frequent flyer miles. But with two Euro Trips this year and a trip to the Pacific next year I’ve blown through my frequent flyer / loyalty program budgets, on most airlines.

Luckily “The Flight Deal” facebook group alerted me to a reasonable deal on United Airlines to fly between Newark, NJ and Bangkok for just $684 bux. I figured getting from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur shouldn’t be too pricey but just for giggles I checked open jaw flights arriving Bangkok on this deal and leaving from KL, the price was only $27 bux difference which is less than what a low-cost airline would charge on that route, so I booked directly with United EWR-NRT-BKK and KUL-NRT-EWR for the trip back. The stop over in Tokyo introduces a new airline and a new aircraft I haven’t flown before: ANA Airlines and the Beoing 787 Dreamliner. Very cool!

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original route: EWR-NRT-BKK and KUL-NRT-EWR  | map courtesy of Great Circle Mapper: http://www.gcmap.com/

UPDATE (8/16): by the time I got home from work other (cheaper) options opened up. So I cancelled my booking, since it was within the 24 hour period that a customer is able to change his/her mind, and re-booked my flight to go ANA from JFK-NRT-BKK and then Shanghai Air from KUL-PVG my first visit to Shanghai. I will have a 9 hour layover there and fly United back to Newark PVG-EWR. All in all pretty happy with the ability to visit three of Asia’s most amazing cities: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai for $707! Of course I’ll be sure to add Singapore to the mix with one of the low-cost carriers.


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new route: JFK-NRT-BKK and KUL-PVG-EWR | map courtesy of Great Circle Mapper: http://www.gcmap.com/

Now I’m left to determine what to do in Bangkok for about four days before the wedding, find my way down to Kuala Lumpur the week after, and squeeze a side trip into Singapore for a day or two. Easy!

I’m amazed with all the low-cost airline options that are now available on the route from BKK to KUL/SIN. Air Asia and Thai Air Asia fly it. Jetstar Asia, Tigerair, and Scoot from Singapore fly it. Indonesian airline Lion Air (probably operating as Malindo Air) and Thai Lion Air fly it. And the prices are reasonable from Don Mueng Airport DMK which is a new airport for me, I’ve never used it when in Bangkok. On the legacy front there’s Bangkok Air which is an option. But most interestingly Malaysian Airlines have decent flights for cheap because of their battered reputation, I just may give them a go.

So I’m just thrilled with this development, even though I have no idea how I’m going to fork out all this money especially with flights to Texas for WEC and Georgia for Petit Le Mans area already booked, as well as the Dubai 24h trip planned, and the Pacific trip booked and paid for. I’ll have to work extra hard this summer just to stay afloat.

I’ve also posted on the Miata.net forums if any of the local MX-5 owners in Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore would like to meet up. I’d be so interested in checking out and possibly test driving a right hand drive Miata.

Stay tuned for more updates on this and other trips!

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I love Southeast Asia…

Planning a Return to Southeast Asia for the Sepang 12 hour

It has been nearly two years since my last trip to Southeast Asia, and I really miss the place! So while browsing online articles about racing I noticed a schedule change for the Sepang 12 hour event, which I’ve yet to do. Not only that, the SRO of the Blancpain Endurance Series has become involved in promoting the event. And judging by the success of the amazing Spa 24 hour race I recently returned from I think it would give a much needed boost to the GT race in Asia.

So I’m going to sign up as a marshal.

For one getting out of the NYC area in December is an awesome thing just to get away from the snow and cold weather. And there’s no better place to go than Southeast Asia. I miss the food. I miss the people. And I do miss the racing at the Sepang International Circuit.

I will also use this opportunity to plan a side trip to either Singapore or Thailand, or both. It would be great to lounge on a beach for a few days and stuff myself with amazing cuisine.

But the racing will be wonderful also. The news reports from earlier this year suggested that the recently re-structured Asian Le Mans Series which I’ve done in December of 2013 would be held just a week after the SRO Sepang 12h event, but more recent articles suggest the dates have been changed to either November of this year or January of next year. Either way, if there is something interesting happening immediately before or immediately after the Sepang 12h race I’d love to spend another weekend in the region.

It is worth noting that the Sepang 12h this year will fall on the same dates as the Gulf 12h at the Abu Dhabi Circuit in UAE. I’ve done the Gulf 12h two years ago before flying to Sepang for the Asian Le Mans Sereies 3h race, and it was a spectacular event on an amazing circuit. Hopefully both events will see good participation among the global and regional teams. I suspect that some Aussies would choose Sepang over Yas Marina, and possibly more Asian teams would participate there, while European participation would be diluted among both, I think. Either way, it’s nice to have options!

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This news has gotten me really excited. And I can’t wait to plan the trip out using frequent flyer miles I must scramble together from different programs because I don’t have enough in any individual one of them at this point (most were used for the trip to Australia Pacific in February). So stay tuned for more!

Post card from Asian Le Mans Series season finalé at Sepang, Malaysia

Greetings from Sepang International Circuit, my second visit here in Malaysia in 2013. This time for the Asian Le Mans season ending race. After Petit Le Mans ending American Le Mans series year, and Bahrain ending European Le Mans series finale in the World Endurance Championship, I have now participated in all three in a row.

Some pix below, more descriptive debrief will be posted in the future.

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Malaysian F1 Grand Prix

A slightly overdue debrief for the 2013 Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, the 15th anniversary of the event at Sepang International F1 Circuit. One word summation: awesome!

This was my second year participating as a marshal for MGP. Like last year there were very few foreigner marshals, however all the locals couldn’t be any more welcoming. Unlike last year where I stayed at the Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur, I decided to go the  local route and asked for some cabin space right at mustering tent, like many of the locals. Unfortunately for me, by the time I showed up all the space was taken, but having made some friends last year I was able to squeeze in with the recovery crew cabin, and made many more friends this time around. A beautiful thing about this experience, we got to go out to town every night after the track activities and eat some amazing local food “makan-makan” was the keyword of the GP (which means eating) and being a fan of the cuisine this was an experience all in itself.

In terms of actual racing, I was really lucky to work with the same team that took me under their wing last year. This time around we were at turn 6, station 6B to be exact, with an excellent view of much of the Esses and even last turn was clearly visible in the distance so it was nice to keep track of the leaders. I got to flag for the most part, sweep the track as my official role was Intervention Marshal, and even play with the digiboard which was changed for this year. (not necessarily for the better I must add)

All in all, amazing experience and if I could afford it I will definitely come back in the future. Terima Kasih Malaysia!

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Winter/Summer North/South Hemisphere

2013 is already promising to be an incredible year. I’m particularly excited about the planning process of my next big trip this February and March. I’m not sure what I’m thrilled about the most… maybe its the prospect of flying again. Sure, I love flying! Or perhaps its the prospect of doing some more racing events in the Pacific. Yes, I love Australia and New Zealand racing series a lot, that’s where I got my education. Or maybe I’m just craving a double double with fries animal style? Hmm…

For anyone not familiar with the west coast chain In-n-Out, you don’t know what you’re missing. Well, maybe it doesn’t matter. To be honest, the fast food chain isn’t ridiculously different from any other fast food chains we have on the east coast, like Five Guys Burgers. But they do offer a secret menu and have a cult-like following so every time I get a chance I pay a visit to their establishments. (I think last time was in Las Vegas when I went for the SEMA show). I specifically arranged my flights to LAX in a way that would allow me to have enough time to visit their South Sepulveda location for a nice juicy burger, fries and some half-strawberry half-chocolate milk shake. I do plan to walk to and fro the restaurant to burn off some of the calories.

After I’m properly stuffed with the So Cal experience, I’ll be taking my comfy Qantas A380 flight off to Sydney. Its been a while since I’ve been there, save for of course the quick transit at SYD airport I did on my way home from New Zealand earlier this year. I will be visiting the Blue Mountains in NSW for my first race there. The 12 hours of Bathurst enduro series featuring some Mercedes-Benz SLS, Lambourghini Gallardo, Ferrari 458 Italias and a bunch of others including some Fords and Holdens that will have a GT race within the race running only for the first hour of the event. How cool?

Immediately after the race I plan to make my way over to Auckland for the opening season of New Zealand V8 SuperTourers at Hampton Downs. This would be the second year in a row I’ve volunteered for this event, so I’m especially looking forward to seeing all the folks I’ve worked with earlier this year. Whilst in NZ I plan to do a few trips to the South Island, an experience I missed out on while living there in 2012. Hopefully with the December 12 days of Christmas special I’ll be able to book some cheapo flights to Dunedin or Queenstown on Air New Zealand to make it happen. A visit to Taupo or Manfeild may be in the cards also.

Kiwi land may be the place where I will finally and possibly tragically run out of my savings. But it will not stop me from going. On the way back I plan to return to Australia for the Formula 1 race at Albert Park in Melbourne. A week before there will be another event at a track I’ve been wanting to work since the first time I visited Philip Island. Visiting some friends in Victoria should make an experience memorable as usual.

Retracing my F1 calendar of this year I plan to take a cheap Air Asia X flight to Malaysia for another amazing Formula 1 race at the Sepang Circuit. The flights have already been booked but the confirmation has yet to come, fingers crossed I won’t have any trouble like I did this year. Any visit to Southeast Asia turns out to be a fantastic experience and it would be a great way to end this two month journey.

The excitement will keep me going through the cold Northeast winter we’ll be having in the NYC / New Jersey area, where we just had our first snow not even a week after the superstorm Sandy had her way with us… yikes!

PS. No return flight has been booked yet. It may turn into another epic adventure of a trip!