Published on March 9th, 2011

Sepang International Circuit (SIC) – promoter and organizer of the 2011 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix – today kicked off a month-long carnival of F1-related activities and special programmes; running up to the Race Day; and the first ever open air concert by Korea’s renowned artiste, Rain on April 10 as the closing act.

Now installed as the second round of the 2011 world championship, SIC hoped the carnival would pull in more foreign fans this year especially for those had been forced to change their holiday schedule following the postponement of the season-opener Bahrain Grand Prix.

Speaking at the ceremony at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, which also marked the official launch of the 2011 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix, SIC Chairman Dato’ Mokhzani Tun Dr Mahathir said that the circuit would be working hard to make the 13th edition of the Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix a ‘Lucky 13’ though it would be working on a different strategy.

“As you are all aware, we have adopted a different strategy this year. Unlike previously; when we have our road shows and on-field promotions as early as January, this year we are going for a solid and aggressive campaign for one-month.

“And, it begins today; right here at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, which will be our key venue partner for this year’s event; and organizing a host of extraordinary programmes in helping us to make the 13th edition as a memorable event,” said Mokhzani, who also named Fahrenheit as the another key partner to the carnival.

Mokhzani said: “Fans should make sure they shop at both Pavilion and Fahrenheit. As, at these two world class shopping malls, you would not only get all the branded items under one roof; but also an opportunity to win prizes that no money can buy.

“Yes, I am talking about the exclusive starting grid passes, pit garage tours, safety car rides; and pit walkabout passes that fans can win through their shopping promo,” he said, adding that the two malls would also have F1 cars on display as well as an F1 mini podium where they can imagine themselves winning the Grand Prix.

During the carnival, SIC would also be conducting a recruitment drive in search of 12 children between eight and 14 years old for a ‘special’ assignment to interview and introduce the F1 drivers on Race Day.

In conjunction with the F1 race, Tourism Malaysia would be having again a month-long GP Sale from March 15 where the whole of Malaysia would be on sale; offering fans a nationwide sales carnival with fashionable bargains and discounts; and sizzling hot deals and unbeatable offers.

Recording an attendance of 96,984 spectators for the race last year, the SIC chairman was hopeful to woo in some 100,000 spectators this time round. In the past, the event had managed getting more than 120,000 fans on Race Day.

Sepang would host the second round from April 8 to 10; with Australia now hosting the season opener at Albert Park in Melbourne from March 25 to 27. Bahrain Grand Prix, which was originally scheduled as Round 1, has been postponed and is now expected to be slotted at the tail end of this season’s 20-leg world championship.

As the second round, fans can expected competing teams and drivers coming to Sepang better prepared; having shaken off their opening race jittery in Melbourne and knowing their machines and rivals better.

Unlike the tight street circuit in Melbourne, fans can expect to see the cars and drivers pushing to their maximum capacity and to the limit as the drivers take full advantage of the smooth ultra-modern race track; and braving passing maneuvers with the wide track and spacious run-off areas.

For Malaysian fans, the 2011 Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix would be unique and it could the home race for at least three of the competing teams – the Mercedes GP PETRONAS, the Proton-backed Lotus Renault F1 Team, and 1Malaysia Team Lotus.

Apart from the three ‘Malaysian teams’, Virgin Racing Team would also have strong Malaysian interest as it has the Malaysian-based global direct selling company, Q-Net as one of its key sponsors.

Mokhzani said: “With so much Malaysian interest this year, I foresee plenty of exciting programmes and activities happening around the city ahead of this year’s event. I can confirm today that there would be a Lotus Team street demo at Putrajaya on April 2.

“We are also trying to get the world champions Red Bull Racing to have their own F1 demo right here at the heart of the city … I am sure that there would even many more exciting programmes at the track during the race weekend.

“It’s definitely an event that no Malaysian racing fan should miss. And, in making the event assessable to all, we have lowered the ticket prices to as low as RM60 for the whole race weekend. You would not get any better deal at any other F1 circuits in the world,” added Mokhzani.

Apart from catching the world’s best drivers in action at the race, Malaysian fans could also see the best of Malaysian drivers in action against top drivers in the region in the support race. For the first time in the 13-year history of Malaysia’s F1, the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) has been included as the support race.

Hailed as the national championship for track racing and introduced in 2002, the MSS would be running the Malaysian GT class and the Malaysian Touring Car Challenge at the F1 race in Sepang as its opening round for the 2011 season.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, PETRONAS Senior General Manager of its Corporate Services Division, Mohd Medan Abdulllah said the national petroleum company, which became the title sponsor for the Red Bull Sauber F1 team in 1995, was proud to play the role of trend-setter for the other Malaysian companies and was happy with the returns that it reaped from its involvement in the sports.

“In addition to our involvement in motorsports of over two decades and the continuous benefits our businesses and brand derives from the Formula One exposure; PETRONAS is also extremely proud to continue playing our part in the growing prominence of the country on the international motorsports map.

“PETRONAS’ agreement last year to extend the association and partnership with Formula One reflects our long-term commitment and continued dedication to support efforts to position Malaysia as a major motorsport hub and tourist destination.

“The economic activities during the Grand Prix period benefit so many different sectors and local industries – particularly those in the tourism, hospitality, food and beverage, transportation and related services sectors. More importantly, this also signals the growing importance of Formula One to Asia, particularly to the businesses related to this premier sporting event, including the automotive, oil and gas industries,” he added.

words & pic: SIC


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