Sepang-12-Hours-2015

The Sepang 12 Hours 2015 race was officially launched yesterday, and it was also announced that the endurance race will join the new Intercontinental GT Challenge that will be launched in 2016.

“By moving the 12-hour endurance race away from August, thus changing its name from the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race, and organising the event at the end of the year, we aim to enable participation by more world class drivers and established endurance race teams,” said Datuk Razlan Razali, CEO of Sepang International Circuit.

“With the SRO Motorsports Group’s vast experience in organising major international endurance and sprint races, we are confident that the race will potentially become a key event in the world endurance racing calendar,” he added.

The Intercontinental GT Challenge by SRO Motorsports Group, dubbed the first-ever global GT3 Series, will debut next year with the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour (Australia), Circuit of the Americas 6 Hours (USA) and Total 24 Hours of Spa (Belgium). Sepang 12 Hours will close the 2016 season in December.

Clearwater-Racing-Ferrari

The new series is aimed at manufacturers, who are encouraged to use local teams to represent them, as it is more cost- and time-effective to fly engineers and drivers rather than cars and equipment around the world. A manufacturers’ and a drivers’ title will be awarded in the Pro category, while a Drivers’ title will be awarded in Pro-Am. Events will have common technical regulations and substantial TV coverage is expected.

Back to this year’s standalone Sepang 12 Hours. SIC says that Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, Honda, Lamborghini, Lexus, McLaren, Mercedes, Porsche, Subaru and Toyota are in the field, represented by top teams.

Singapore-based Clearwater Racing will be gunning for a third consecutive overall victory with last year’s winner Gimmi Bruni, triple Sepang 12 Hours-winner Mok Weng Sun, 2015 Blancpain Endurance Pro-Am champion Matt Griffin and GT World Championship stalwart James Calado driving the #1 Ferrari (pic).

But with Maxi Buhk, Vincent Abril, Stéphane Ortelli, Laurens Vanthoor, Christopher Mies and Christopher Haase all on the entry list, there are several Blancpain GT Series champions at the start, all competing for factory supported entries from Audi and Bentley.

Other cars and drivers to watch out for are the McLarens of FFF Racing Team by ACM; Team AAI HubAuto’s Mercedes, with Japanese aces Hiroki Yoshimoto and Nobuteru Taniguchi at the wheel; Peter Kox, former winner of the B-Quick Racing Audi R8 Cup and local hero Alex Yoong.