MMER 2011: IT’S all system go as SIC prepares for German invasion in this MMER

Published on September 16th, 2011

IT’S all systems go as Sepang International Circuit (SIC) gears itself to host South East Asia’s biggest endurance race, the Malaysia Merdeka Millennium Endurance (MMER) which enters its 12th edition starting with the qualifying session today.

Even without defending overall champion, Tengku Hammam and co from Arrows Racing who opted out of this year’s event because of problems with his Lamborghini, the fans are still in for a treat as the threat of a German invasion is imminent in the premier GT Class, with 3 German carmakers set to take over the grid tomorrow.

BMW, Mercedes and Audi set to unleash their hottest machines, BMW Z4, Mercedes SLS AMG and Audi R8 LMS with all them declaring their intentions of bringing home the title.

Top of the list is current Le Mans champion, Marcel Fassler who will be helming Belgian Audi alongside Frank Biela from Germany and compatriot, Marco Werner.

However, the 35 year old Swiss feels that having two former Le Mans champions on board, does not give them any distinct advantage, as the MMER will be a totally whole different ball game.

‘‘It is correct that in Marco Werner, Frank Biela and myself, we have three Le Mans winners on board. But I would like to point out that it is hard to directly compare a 12 hour GT race with a 24 hour race in a sports prototype.”

“One thing is sure: All my team mates have a lot of endurance experience. This will help us to be in good shape.”

“I think we all know how to prepare well for an endurance race. I hope that there will be a level-playing field and that the performance of the different types of cars in the GT class will be balanced out evenly.”

“Then we have every good reason to be looking forward for a fine competition in a great race,“ added Fassler.

Belgian Audi have also confirmed another entry in the GT Class with Canadian born Chinese touring car driver, Darryl O’ Young at the helm of the Audi R8 LTS, ably supported by Seiji Ara from Japan by his side and our very own former Formula One driver, Alex Yoong.

A total of 47 cars have confirmed their entry with the bulk coming from the Touring Production with 28, followed by 11 in the GT Class and 8 in the Sport Production.

Local hopes will be pinned on Petronas Syntium Team to fly the flag for Malaysia after Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanagida and Dominic Ang created a storm by finishing third in the race last year.

Malaysian driving ace, Fariqe Hairuman will lead the other Mercedes SLS AMG car for Petronas Syntium Team with team mates, Bernd Schneider and Tatsuya Kataoka hoping to upstage their more formidable rivals.

In the Sports Production Category, Masatama Kawaguchi, Masayuki Ueda and the third driver which will be confirmed later will hope repeat their winning performance for Tracy Sports in the Honda S2000 while Eddie Liew is gunning for his second consecutive title, this time under the guise of JC Racing in a Honda DC5 after romping home to victory with Honda Malaysia Racing Team.

Local carmaker, Proton have continued their support since 2000 with their British subsidiary, Lotus will again be making their appearance in the Sports Production category with 3 cars on the grid, one from BTB Racing and 2 from Aylezo Motorsports.

Aylezo Motorsports will be hoping to erase the painful memory last year when an unfortunate incident at the pits caused their race to end prematurely in the Sports Production with Denis Lian vowing not to repeat the same mistakes this time around.

Meanwhile, during the pre-race drivers press conference, Project Leader of Audi Sport Customer Racing, Dietmar Ponticelli, reiterated his side’s commitment is continuing their support for the MMER by handing over 2 safety cars for use during the race tomorrow.

“I wish to record my thanks to SIC for giving me the opportunity to hand over the safety cars on behalf of Audi.

“Hopefully we can continue this relationship for many years to come. This is the second time we are providing the safety car for MMER.

“This safety car is a RS V10 model and one of its kind in the world. We have produced only a limited 333 cars and all of the models are already sold out. I’m delighted to announce that 54% parts of this racing car can also be found in the cars we produce for the road.

Besides the race, there will be many exciting events held around the circuit, with the main attraction being the 12 Hours 12 DJ 1 Race 1 Party featuring hot international DJ’s rocking the circuit on the Saturday, 17th September.

Keeping the crowd awake all night long during the 12 hour endurance race are Cassie D, Aurology, Zass Zuss, RAsz Tooten, Shane, Adham Nasri, Popcorn Perky, DJ K, Ramsey and Nicky C.

Headlining this musical revolution are Shogun, Aaron Camz who promise to bring the house down with their brand of music from at the North Paddock from 2 pm to 2 am.

Pre-sale tickets are going for RM45 while door sales on event day are RM60 so concert goers are advised to purchase their tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Besides the 12 hour concert, race goers will be entertained with the many side events in store including drift, air brush demo show, sticker demo show, car club gathering, Rc drift preview, audio ice competition, spit fire show and pocket bike rides at the Mall area.

So what are you waiting for? Head down to SIC, the place to be for all night racing and entertainment. This is one event that’s worth staying up for.

words & pix: SIC

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