After 11 and a half years at the helm, Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali has stepped down. Razlan leaves his position effective April 7 and will be going to Sepang Racing Team (SRT) as team principal and his place will be taken by Azhan Shafriman Hanif.

Azhan comes to SIC from his former position as Head of Strategic Alliance in Petronas Brand Department. A mechanical engineer by training – majoring in manufacturing and material science, he has been part of the Petronas team for more than 13 years.

Speaking to paultan.org in an exclusive interview, Razlan is looking forward to managing SRT full-time, after being involved for the previous two years. SRT currently competes in all three levels of top rung two-wheel motorcycle racing – MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 in a team comprising of 22 different nationalities.

New SIC CEO Azhan Shafriman Hanif (right)

Razlan counts seeing Malaysian riders standing on the podium as one of the highlights of his career with SIC especially at their home track at SIC. This includes Banting boy Zulfahmi Khairuddin who currently rides for SRT with two Moto3 podium finishes in 2012 and Hafizh Syahrin who mounted the podium twice in 2017 while racing in Moto2.

“Seeing a Malaysian rider on the podium in the world championship at their home Grand Prix is something special,” says Razlan. “You know they’re going to win somewhere, but to do it at home is special.” Another special moment for Razlan is seeing Hafizh racing in the MotoGP category.

One thing Razlan regrets are the fatal racing incidents at SIC, including the death of death of Marco Simoncelli in 2011 and others. “Motor racing is dangerous and we had a squeaky clean record for many years, this is something I regret,” said Razlan.

On plans for SIC after his departure Razlan says this is something close to his heart, with some words for his successor. “He needs to rally all the SIC team members for what needs to be done. Changes need to be done gradually. Getting everyone’s buy-in is key,” says Razlan.