The KL City Grand Prix 2015 is making a mark in the motorsport scene for the first time ever – and although the general public are ‘generally’ unhappy with the whole road closure malarky, we car fanatics are sort of on the fence with it. In one turn, we have our dismay just like the rest of the local citizens but on the other hand, its Motorsports! How can we say no?
Taking place slap bang in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the KL City GP has cordoned off the major roads along the golden triangle and turning it into a street circuit. Clearly this is nothing new to the motorsport scene, as seen before in Macau and Singapore (for the F1)… and of course, the infamous Monaco circuit! Now adding to that list of great circuits, is Kuala Lumpur.
There are 3 major races that will be creating noise pollution (or rather awesomeness in our case!) in the city, and they are – the open wheel Formula Masters, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia race series and one that has never seen before out of Australia, the V8 Supercars series. And as an fanatic, I’m certainly most excited on the Aussie V8s!
We were invited by Castrol to have a quick tour and a meet & greet session with one of the leading V8 Supercars team, the Prodrive Racing team running in the Ford Falcon XR8 race car. Prodrive Racing and Castrol have collaborated for 12 years on the team’s Ford V8 engine program which is developed completely in house. Together the two entities have claimed more than 50 race wins and pole positions, plus more than 160 podiums. Being one of the leading motorsports teams in the Asia-Pacific region, they compete in the V8 Supercar Championship across Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia. Just in this year, the team has won 11 races, claimed 10 pole positions with the highlight Winterbottom’s clean-sweep of both races at the recent Castrol EDGE Townsville 400.
Particularly though – I was more interested in what runs underneath these Ford Falcon XR8 shells. The quick tour enlightened a lot on the technicals and engineering that goes into the car. The V8 engine that runs this monster is a totally race-bred engine specially developed to run these races. As part of regulations, these engines are capped to run nothing more than 640bhp but the engineering team ensured us that it’ll easily do more.
Unlike other motorsports, the Aussie V8 Supercars are not restricted in engine changes – thus the teams are allowed to run as many engines as they want throughout the season. However, the block has proved to be uber reliable that they could even run the same engine if need be throughout the season. Zero compromise however, they do make changes to ensure maximum performance and efficiency.
It’s a fascinating outlay that these monsters have, and it’s business as usual everywhere. Completely stripped out, and replace any heavy materials with carbon fibre and composites. It’s amazing how strong these cars are that despite the weight and downforce, it’ll still do 300km/h in the Barthurst race.
Sadly – this bunch will not be competing at the KL City Grand Prix. 5 teams carrying 5 different brands came down purely to showcase and demonstrate these powerful cars down the new street track. Not to worry though, the full blown competition will be coming down to Malaysia next year with 25 of these monstrous V8s and set to blast down the golden triangle as part of their new championship calendar.
We’d like to extend our gratitude to Castrol for giving us the opportunity to get up close and personal with the cars and teams; and we look forward to having them next year!
Words & Photos: Qhalis Najmi