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Malaysian Grand Prix – Sepang International Circuit

Sepang International Circuit was officially opened on March 9, 1999 by Malaysia’s then Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Completed in a record 18 months it was sculped from a 260 hectare former oil palm plantation.

Sepang was the first Formula One circuit designed by the now famous Herman Tilke. Tilke has since built all-new F1 facilities at Shanghai, Bahrain, Istanbul and Abu Dhabi, as well as modifying F1 circuits in Spain, Japan, Germany and France. While all of Tilke’s designs are architecturally stunning not all of them deliver the exciting racing that the truly great racing circuits such as Albert Park, Spa and Interlagos.

Constructed as a ‘natural stadium’, the Sepang International Circuit required more than 9 million cubic meters of earth to be removed and then in order to retain its natural landscape more than 5,000 palm trees were planted around the circuit to replace those lost during construction. As time has gone by, even more trees have been planted to further enhance the natural beauty of the circuit.

Unlike the Australian Grand Prix which is held at the Albert Park Circuit located in the heart of Melbourne, Sepang International is situated some 85km from Kuala Lumpur city centre, accessible via modern auto expressway, Rail Links and a network of Highways. Sepang’s close proximity to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport allows easy access for the many world-class international motor-sports events hosted at the circuit in addition to the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Sepang International Circuit’s ‘double-straight’ layout allows the full grand prix loop to be divided easily into two shorter, ‘north’ and ‘south’ circuits allowing two races to be be run simultaneously, if required. The Malaysian Grand Prix held on the full Formula One circuit layout which is 3.444 miles (5.543 km) long, featuring 15 turns and 8 straights with terminal speed at the end of the straight of more than 300km/h. The track is relatively wide at more than 52 ft wide (16 m) at its narrowest point and has several good overtaking points.

The track can accommodate up to 130,000 spectators at a time with the Main Grand Stand capable of holding 32,000 spectators and 18 corporate suites. New Grand Stands K and F, can accomodate another 18,500 spectators facing, turn 1 and 7 respectively.

The 1.3 km length of double frontage grandstand affords a view of the circuit’s longest straight. The grandstand is constructed along the east-west alignment to ensure shade from the sun’s glare at all times.

The heart of the circuit is the three-storey Pit Building, facing the main grand stand. All the main facilities are housed here including 33 Pit facillities, the Race Control Room, Time Keeping, Paddock Clubs and management offices.

One of the advanced features implemented at the time the circuit was built is the 27 closed circuit TV cameras located throughout the circuit that are linked through a network of fiber optic cabling to a central monitoring location that can record any incident along the circuit.


Lap Length: 3.444 Miles (5.543km)
Lap Record: 1:34.223 (Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams/BMW, 2004)
Number of Turns: 15 (10 RH, 5LH)
Number of Race Laps: 56
Total Race Distance: 192.879 Miles (310.408km)

High speeds and high temperatures are the norm at the Sepang International circuit. Typical ambient temperatures of more than 86 °F (30 °C) with very high seasonal humidity make the fast, twisty nature of the track one of he most physically demanding of the Formula One season.

Heavy tropical downpours are a near-certainty at this circuit, last year heavy rain caused the Grand Prix to be stopped before the end of the race and only half points awarded for the Formula One World Championship.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Willena Montminy April 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm

I’m impressed! It’s good to see someone very well informed about what they do. Looking forward to future posts.Cheers!


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