Sepang International Circuit (SIC), which was recently named as Organiser for the Best MotoGP Race of The Year, will host its last major event of the year next month as it pits the best of Malaysian drivers against top international racers in an endurance race of 1,000 kilometers at its circuit.
The Sepang 1000-kilometer race, which simply called S1K amongst members of the motor racing fraternity and to be held from December 6 to 8, enters its fourth year since its separation from the prestigious 12-hour Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER) in 2009 and all eyes would again on the amazing Malaysian trio of Lai Wee Sing, Soh Kee Koon and Boy Wong Yew Choong as they attempt for a MMER-S1K double.
Winners of the Touring Production class in the MMER last August, the trio from Type R Racing Team would be defending their overall crown, which they won in a thrilling battle that lasted almost nine hours with Keifli Othman, Halim Muadzam and A. Kesavamoorthy of JC Racing as both drivers completed identical 181 laps.
Driving a rare 1.6 litre Toyota Altis in Class 2, Type R Racing Team, overall winners of the inaugural race in 2009 and second in 2010, completed the race 1 minute 59.871 seconds ahead of their rivals in 8 hours 48 minutes and 6.567 seconds to win their second S1K crown.
“It was never an easy race… despite what the results may appear to be. Endurance races are always difficult as you have to stay focus for very long periods… there’s plenty of uncertainties. My guess is that it would be even tougher this year … the cars would definitely be faster despite having the same race regulations this year,” said Lai, who partnered Boy and Soh for the first time in the S1K last year despite being their regular partners in the MMER for the past few years.
“We would be driving the Altis again this year and we definitely enter this year’s race with the same mission of winning the overall crown again… it would definitely be sweet for the team to win the overall crown for a third time this year. It’s definitely achievable and we will be working very hard and giving our very best,” said Lai, who is synonymous to winning in Sepang; having won the Malaysian Super Series Supersixteen crown three times and twice winning the premier class of the Sepang Drag Battle.
Apart from the top local teams like JC Racing, Wing Hing Motorsports and Jun Engineering, Type R Racing’s strongest challenge would be coming from the international teams especially the fleet of cars from Singapore-based ST Powered Racing Team.
Divided in two classes and opened only to productions cars, Class 1 groups the cars between 1601cc to 1800cc with the more popular and stronger Class B pitting cars below 1600cc. For the past three editions, it has been the Class B cars dominating the race and they finished ahead of the Class 2 cars.
Separated from the hugely successful MMER in the interest of safety, the creation of the S1K was also aimed at providing more racing opportunities for local teams and drivers as competition in the 12-hour endurance race became more intense as it became the playing field of big-budget internationally-renown teams.
Like the previous three editions, the 2012 S1K is expected to again attract international entries from as far as Australia, Japan and Hong Kong apart from the massive participation of Singaporean teams and drivers.
Registration and the official free practice would be held on December 6, which would be followed on the following day with the qualifying session. The race would be flagged off at 12 noon on December 8 and run for 181 laps around the 5.543-km Formula 1 or an equivalent of 1,000 kilometers
Apart from the main race, the 2012 event would have the final round of Asia Classic Car Challenge and the single-seater Formula Pilota as the support races. This year’s S1K is supported by Hankook – Official tyres supplier and OnTheRoad, which is the official magazine for the event.
words & pix: SIC