Sepang International Circuit SIC (1)

Sepang International Circuit (SIC) will be facing a challenging year ahead with the closure of the track for mandatory resurfacing from February 15 to May 8. The resurfacing, mandated by FIA and FIM as a requirement for the continued holding of Formula 1 (F1) and MotoGP races at SIC, has seen the rescheduling of the World Superbike Championship (WSBK) and F1.

The WSBK race, sixth in the series for 2016, has been brought forward to May 13 to 15 while F1 has been moved to September 30 to October 2 from its regular slot in March. The MotoGP race remains unchanged from October 28 to 30 as the 18th round of the championship.

Speaking to exclusively to at the annual SIC appreciation dinner held on January 12 at the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, SIC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali said that it would be a challenging year ahead, but the SIC team is looking forward to it.

Asked if having two F1 races barely two weeks apart was a negative thing, Razlan said, “I think it’s great for the event, because we have a long promotion period to promote the race. Based on the feedback from travel agents, both local and international, they like it because it gives them more time to promote (the race) to the European market. The European market is our key market.”

Sepang International Circuit (4)

Razlan added, “Singapore has more to worry about rather than us. We were affected by spectator numbers dropping when they held their race in 2008 anyway. Now. we’re turning the tables in some ways, because we want to capture the global audience that could potentially attend two F1s in the region. I reckon that’s great for the fans.”

He also did not see an impact on ticket sales at Sepang. “The only thing that is going to be affected is increased ticket sales. Because we have more time to promote, more news that we can leverage on. Right now, assuming we had the race in March, even in January there’s no news about F1 at all, that’s why we struggle every year. News will only come out when there’s testing but other than that, there’s not much news. So when we are in round 16 or 17, there’s plenty of news and developments that we can leverage on.”

Razlan admitted that the track closure would hit revenue hard. “We will definitely lose revenue for three months. We’re talking about a solid 90 days of track revenue. That’s RM55,000 a day times 90 days, that’s a lot of money,” he said.