Malaysia to get second Grand Prix

Singapore billionnaire Peter Lim has reportedly signed a deal to help create a race track capable of hosting a Grand Prix in the Iskandar Malaysia region by 2016.

Motorsports News: Sepang.

By staff

The project is slated to cost as much as RM 3.5 billion ($1.15 billion) and will be situated near Tuas Second Link.

The deal was finalised in the recent World Islamic Economic Forum in Johor Baru and will involve a partnership between FASTrack Autosports, owned by Lim, as well as UEM Land, a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

Currently, Malaysia hosts the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit although Lim envisions the new circuit to be part of a 'Motorsport City' with an international race-certified 1.5km go-kart track, car showrooms, resort homes, a bonded warehouse, a research and development centre and an advanced driving school.

Lim is currently a board member of McLaren racing and the driving school could thus be helmed by instructors from the famed British marque.

"(The Motorsports City) is an interesting project, something that I love and I think we can build a fairly sound business model from, especially with the high costs of doing business in Singapore and also the availability of labour here," Lim told a press conference on Tuesday.

"Actually, that is the main reason I believe this project will take off very well."

FASTrack Autosports chief executive officer Barry Kan added that talks had already taken place with leading circuit designers with Hermann Tilke said to be particularly interested. Tilke has previously designed the circuits in Bahrain, Sepang, Shanghai, Istanbul, Valencia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Delhi.

"We spoke to track designers such as Hermann Tilke and showed them the topographical drawings of the track. Tilke was very excited and said 'I can create a Nurburgring in this part of the world'," Kan revealed.

"We have a very good terrain and we intend to use as much of it in this track as possible.

"Our vision is for Motorsports City to be the premier autodrome in the region. We are excited with the potential, especially given the growing number of car enthusiasts in Singapore and Malaysia."

Southeast Asia also boasts another race in the Singapore Grand Prix and the night race inked a contract extension in September and will remain part of the F1 calendar until 2017.

Fernando Alonso was the most recent winner of the Malaysian Grand Prix in a rain-soaked race earlier in March this year. 

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