While it’s still almost another two weeks before the V8 Supercars Championship returns to proper action at the Sydney Motorsport Park, five of this year’s field got to sample a potential new addition to next year’s calendar on the streets of Kuala Lumpur.
The quintet – representing each of the series’ car makes – took part in a series of demonstration races in support of the inaugural KL City Grand Prix last weekend, run on a 3.2-kilometre street circuit in the central tourist district in Malaysia’s capital.
There was no attempt at hiding that this was a PR assault in yet another overseas adventure for the championship, but the racing was close and clean, with overtaking aplenty.
Chaz Mostert won the first two races in his Prodrive Racing Ford Falcon, while Nissan’s Todd Kelly claimed the honors in the third and final race 12-lap race which also featured Scott McLaughlin (Polestar Volvo), Will Davison (Erebus Motorsport AMG) and Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Racing Holden).
The demonstration events were held in preparation for a planned championship-level round next year – which is likely to take place in August – as part of a four-year deal that the V8 Supercars bosses hope to pair with a second offshore event.
All of the drivers were at pains to praise the circuit – which has its start/finish line adjacent to the iconic Petronas Towers – with Todd Kelly describing it as the most challenging street circuit he’d ever raced on.
“It made the Gold Coast and Homebush street tracks look like a walk in the park in terms of the bravery required to do a fast lap,” he reflected after the event.
“A lot of the corners are quite high-speed, fourth gear sweeping corners. Some of them have pretty big bumps in them so it was an absolute blast to put a good lap together, bring the car home in one piece and also be the fastest in qualifying.”
Racing with a full 26-car grid would prove to be a bigger challenge, he predicted.
“The racing wasn’t too bad, but there was only five of us. For the future, it will certainly come down to qualifying, and the aggro that we usually get in the second half of the field will be interesting around there,” he added.
“Overall, the event was fantastic. For the amount of time that they had to construct the circuit, they did a great job. The people were very enthusiastic and the interest in V8 Supercars was surprisingly high.”
Images via V8 Supercars / Edge Phorographics