This was really under the radar, but the Sepang International Circuit has secured itself the hosting rights for another flagship event. The event will be called the Sepang 8 Hours, and part of the motorcycling world’s premiere endurance racing series, the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC).
There’s still a long way to go as the inaugural event is scheduled for December 2019, but the ink is already on paper. It is billed to be the first-ever winter race in the championship’s history (it doesn’t make sense to us but I think you know what it means), and only the second race of its kind in Asia. The Suzuka circuit in Japan holds the honour of being first, which it has been hosting every year since 1978.
The race will have the same format as the Suzuka 8 Hours, with a Superpole Top10 Trial and a finish after nightfall. The Sepang 8 Hours will also be the first qualifying round for all the Southeast Asian and Japanese teams wishing to take part in the Suzuka 8 Hours. It means the finest Asian teams hoping to qualify for Suzuka will be on track in Malaysia together with the permanent FIM EWC teams, which will be invited to Sepang. Eurosport Events will cover the costs of European and Japanese teams competing at Sepang.
Sepang International Circuit has been on lookout for a new blue-ribbon event to fill the void left by F1, and based on a poll which ended in early 2018 the EWC was the one which got the most votes according to SIC CEO, Dato’ Razlan Razali. FYI, other big championships didn’t do as well; SuperGT, for example, which proved to be very well received when it was held here for a few years was only ranked third.
Razlan commented, “The finest teams competing in the full FIM EWC season will also be there (Sepang) honing their weapons ahead of Suzuka. Interests for 2 wheels event have grown in Malaysia for the last 8 years and we are excited for this event to take place in December 2019 after all the major events are completed and we hope to attract top riders to race in the Sepang 8 Hours.”
* So now Sepang Circuit’s new lights make much, much more sense.