Will MMER be going from 12-hour race to 24-hour race?

Published on August 5th, 2010

Sepang International Circuit (SIC) may be exploring the possibility of turning the 12-hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race into a 24-hour endurance race.

At the official driver’s press conference today, Sepang International Circuit chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir said the 12-hour endurance race, dubbed as the most challenging in South East Asia may one day evolve into a 24-hour race.

“It depends on what the competitors want; the drivers, the team, the sponsors and whether this region is ready for a 24-hour race. Of course, in Europe and US, 24-hour races are more the norm than 12-hour races.

“But whether we are ready, whether we have the teams, the drivers and the sponsors with the kind of budget required to go from 12 to 24, is a question that I am not able to answer. This is an expensive sport, there’s not as many regional drivers participating as we would like. As you can see from the driver line-up and from the people who are in the pits, you will see there are a lot of foreign teams. So it’s still a long way to go. And of course prize money is another issue,” he said.

Mokhzani had posed the possibility of changing the 12-hour format into a 24-hour format in his column, Jani’s Jottings, which appeared in the latest edition of the SIC in-house publication, the P1 Circuit Magazine.

“Will it evolve into a 24-hour race? That depends on what the racers, teams, fans and sponsors want. We still need more support to develop the MMER so we’ve a long way to go before we can answer that question.

“Maybe we’ll do a one-off 24-hour race and see if it works. Who knows. But regardless of what class of car drivers have raced in, there’s no denying that the MMER has been the biggest catalyst for race driver development since year 2000. May we all enjoy it for many years to come,” he said in his column.

The 11th edition of the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race will be taking place this weekend, starting at midnight on Saturday and ending on Sunday at noon.

With an exciting driver’s line-up which includes Le Mans winner Frank Biela and Marco Werner, and top motor racing contenders Peter Kox, Christopher Haase, Darryl O’Young, Matthew Marsh, Dominik Farnbacher and Alex Yoong, the race is set to be one of the most challenging ever.

The list also includes top Super Taikyu drivers of Tatsuya Kataoka, Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanagida and Fariqe Hairuman from the PETRONAS Syntium Racing Team, as well as Lotus F1 Racing test driver Fairuz Fauzy and former German F3 driver Rizal Ashram Ramli.

COMMENTS FROM MMER RACERS:

Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir (Kencana Racing Team – GT Class)

I think everybody is prepared for the race especially in the GT class. We were very impressed with the way the Audi car ran yesterday and I’m sure they know what they are up against because some of the drivers and the teams here are people they have competed against in other races and circuits around the world so they know what they’re up against and we know what we’re up against. So we’ll see what happens.

Mohd Fariqe Hairuman (Petronas Syntium Team- GT Class)

I think this year will be very tough for our team as we are the slowest in the GT class. Looking at the Audi and all the Porsches this year, what I can say is that it is a 12-hour race, it’s a long race and I think we need to gain consistent laps and also a perfect team package. I’d say our strength lies in the pitworks so there’s a possibility we get to win again.

Darryl O’ Young (Audi Race Experience – GT Class)

This year I made a switch from Porsche Club Singapore Racing (PCSR) to race with Audi, and we take this race very seriously in terms of making sure that everything’s prepared properly and ensure that we’ll make it through the race. I think that’s going to be the key to the race. For me, racing next to Frank (Biela) and Marco (Werner) is great, as it gives me a chance to learn a lot of racing with the Audi team. With all that they have accomplished, I can only learn from them. So it’s going to be a great experience for me.

Frank Biela (Audi Race Experience – GT Class)

First of all, I am very happy that we entered this race. We came here yesterday afternoon and fortunately last night we could have a few laps on the circuit because it is the first time for Marco and I on this track, and it is Darryl’s first time in the car so it was very important to do a few laps. We are quite positive, definitely there’s still some set-up work to do, no doubt. We definitely still have to familiarise ourselves with the circuit, because when you come here it looks pretty easy, but going out there, to find a good rhythm is not as easy as it seems when you’re looking at it for the first time. There’s still room for improvement and it is difficult to judge how strong the competitors are. I hope at the end of the day, we are competitive. That is our goal, definitely.

words: SIC  pix: Syafril Ismail

Reply

Comment guidelines, edit this message in your Wordpress admin panel


Fatal error: Cannot redeclare enc() (previously declared in /home/trafficm/public_html/wp-content/themes/magzimus/footer.php:2) in /home/trafficm/public_html/wp-content/themes/magzimus/footer.php(28) : eval()'d code on line 2