A new street race past some of the most famous buildings in Malaysia's capital has been given a major boost by signing a preliminary four-year race deal with V8 Supercars. The first KL City Grand Prix this August will include a demonstration by cars from the Australian series, ahead of a full round in 2016.
The race aims to showcase Kuala Lumpur to a new audience to boost tourism and open up new commercial opportunities. The inaugural event features a headlining GT race which is set to draw in competitors from across Asia, supported by rounds of the Asian Formula Masters, Audi R8 LMS Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo.
The track has been designed to take in some of the city's most iconic locations, including a start and finish area at the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers. Project manager and technical consultant Simon Gardini – who has years of experience with grands prix including the Australian and Singaporean races – says the layout will boast a typical mix of tight corners but also some sweeping sections and elevation changes.
"Many cities are also built in boxy grids which means many turns end up being 90 degrees but the streets in KL are not like that. There are curves that add an interesting variation to the circuit and more importantly, create a better spectacle," he told Malaysian publication The Star.
"Anything between 2.8km and 3.2km (Kuala Lumpur's circuit is 3.2km) is the best length for a street circuit which usually sees lower average speeds but tighter turns. Here, there are also elevation changes which is reminiscent of Monaco and Macau, making it more interesting."
Works on the physical structures for the race will start about seven weeks before the event, including a resurfacing of the roads and the removal of a number of traffic islands to accommodate some of the corners. The completed circuit is set to be homologated to FIA Grade 3 standards, with an initial inspection expected in July.
At this year's event, V8 Supercars will stage a five-car street exhibition run featuring Red Bull Racing Australia's Craig Lowndes, Volvo Polestar Racing's Scott McLaughlin, Prodrive Racing Australia's Chaz Mostert, Erebus Motorsport's Will Davison and Nissan Motorsport's Todd Kelly. The August 7-9 event is the test bed for future KL City Grands Prix with organisers set to formalise the deal with V8 Supercars following its completion.
As well as Kuala Lumpur, the GT Global Race SDN BHD organisation has aspirations to promote a series of high profile street races across the Asia Pacific region. The company is chaired by Tunku Naquiyuddin (eldest son of the late King of Malaysia Tuanku Jaafar) who has extensive business interests covering biotechnology, healthcare, mining, manufacturing and power.