Tag Archives: Sepang 12h

California 8 hour at Laguna Seca Debut of Intercontinental GT Challenge in America

Welcome to the California 8h the debrief.

Man was I looking forward to this event… not so much because I thought it was going to be a thriller (it was good, but in a genetic GT racing kind of way, fairly predictable) but because I wasn’t sure it was actually going to happen… even a week before race day!

Why do I say that? Because this is SRO’s second attempt at bringing the Intercontinental GT Challenge to America… I specifically signed up to volunteer the PWC season opener at COTA last year just for the Circuit of the America’s 6 hour race… that never happened.

I am glad however that this event took place, and most importantly that it was a success! We only had 19 cars on grid, which is a low number. But the racing was good. One brand dominated… Nobody could keep up with the pace of the Audi’s… not McLaren. Not Acura. And definitely not Porsche whose very reliable 911 GT3 RSR’s started falling lap down first… at one point there was only four cars on the lead lap, which is silly.

Luckily the battles for first were good. Team Land Audi lead for most of the event. Belgian Team WRT took over briefly and then spun out into the kitty litter, going down a few laps by the time it was recovered. And Magnus racing saved the best for last and won. McLaren ran Okay… went down a few times but finished on the lead lap. And Acura didn’t fare so well either. One of the cars DNF’ed… the other finished in fourth or so. I think all of the Porsche 911’s finished a lap down. In GT4 field the Ginetta, Aston Martin and Porsche Cayman had a great battle. And the Invitational Mazda3 V8’s finished a strong 9th and 10th. Which is pretty cool! Those cars were very neat… one was left hand drive, one right hand drive. And featured two shades of the Mazda famous red paint. (while being powered by a Ford Coyote 5.0 liter V8)

So what’s the verdict for this event?

If it happens again, I think it would be tremendously better if more cars show up. That of course could be said about any other event, but in this case it would have made a huge difference.

Anything else they could change?

YES! I hope and pray that SRO or USAC/PWC/SFR SCCA spring up a few bucks to buy some “SC” – Safety Car boards. It was absolutely absurd waving double yellows every time there was full course caution. Who made that decision? It’s Stupid! Any kind of waving yellow flag for no good reason (absent an SC board) waters down/diluted the importance of the safety aspect of waving yellow flags. How much could the boards possibly cost? Can’t SRO just bring their own… I mean they already bring containers full of equipment. Bring the pink Code 60 flag along too! If I could change one thing I would have changed that first…

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.

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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

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!