The V8 Supercars Championship will have another crack at trying to build its profile outside of Australia and New Zealand, with series organisers inking a four-year agreement to serve as the headline act in the Malaysian Kuala Lumpur City Grand Prix from next year onwards.
The field will race on a 3.2-kilometre street circuit that will run through the heart of the the Malaysian capital’s Bukit Bintang tourist precinct, with the track first corner situated next to the iconic Petronas Towers.
The layout has been designed by the British-based Apex Circuit Designs group, which has also overseen the construction of the Dubai Autodrome and redevelopment of Sydney Motorsport Park.
“We are absolutely delighted to begin this partnership with the KL City Grand Prix and be the first international racing series to participate at this spectacular event,” V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said.
“With a TV audience of hundreds of millions world-wide the KL City Grand Prix will be shining the spotlight squarely on the world’s best touring car Championship in one of the world’s greatest cities.
“Having four Championship races in Kuala Lumpur until 2019, in close reach of Australia and in a similar time zone for our fans are key ingredients. We would envisage that many fans would make their way to Kuala Lumpur to watch us race live on what will be one of the world’s most spectacular street tracks.”
Five drivers and cars – Chaz Mostert (Prodrive Ford), Craig Lowndes (Red Bull Holden), Scott McLaughlin (GRM Volvo), Todd Kelly (Nissan) and Will Davison (Erebus Mercedes) – will participate in a demonstration event at this year’s inaugural event on the weekend of August 7-9.
The V8 Supercars Championship has a terrible track record when it comes to trying to extend its appeal outside of Australasia. In 2005, the series staged a championship round at the Shanghai International Circuit, but it was a one-off despite the inking of a multi-year agreement.
Subsequent attempts to expand into the Middle East with the respective Desert 400 and Yas V8 400 events in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi were also an unmitigated flop, even when the latter was paired with the Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2012.
In 2013, the championship calendar expanded into Texas with the inaugural running of the Austin 400 at the Circuit of the Americas. It too was shelved after just one round in a multi-year deal.
Images via Apex Circuit Designs