SIC TO MAKE 2009 MERDEKA MILLENNIUM RACE THE BIGGEST EVER!
It's that time of the year again where the biggest race in Asia is about to go off and this time it's the tenth running of the Merdeka Millennium Endurance (MME) Race.
Organised and promoted by Sepang International Circuit (SIC), its aim is to make Sepang the hub of motorsport in the region and as an effort to develop motorsport in Malaysia and the Asian region.
The race format remains the same throughout every year, three drivers to a car and they take turns accordingly to the race regulations to complete 12 hours of nonstop racing around the 5.543-km Sepang Circuit.
Each driver can only drive a maximum of 75 minutes per session and they must rest at least two-thirds of the driving time before taking another drive. The maximum cumulative driving time for each driver is 5 hours.
In commemorating this tenth anniversary, some changes have been made to make the race more exciting. With the separation of the class B and C into the Sepang 1000km race (S1K), the faster main class O and A will have more spaces on the grid to fill up - all the way to 77 cars.
For a fair race, the class A will be split into two, A1 and A2, to separate between production supercars as A1 (Group B or GT4 or non FIA homologated production sports) and production sports and saloon cars in A2 (Group N and Group A or non FIA homologated Touring Cars).
The 77 slots on the starting grid is split into the three classes, 27 for class O, 25 for class A1 and 25 for class A2.
Also to honor the month of Ramadhan which is the fasting month for Muslims, the race date that is usually set on the last weekend of August is moved forward to the second weekend of the month which is on the 8th.
For the local motorsports enthusiasts, the MME is much awaited for every year since 2000. The 12 hours test of endurance will definitely test the drivers' skill, teams' management and the machines to the limit.
MME has been regarded as catalysts to the development of national motorsports in Malaysia. Here, the competition is fierce and indirectly will produce racers, team managers and crew with world standard.
In the year 2000, there were 55 teams competed in MME. The response from the public was very encouraging because apart from celebrating our independence day, Malaysians now have another reason to celebrate independence day which at Sepang International Circuit experiencing the exciting and action packed 12 hours race.
In the year 2001, the participants increased from 55 teams to 78 teams including the international teams. And for the first time 2001 MME witnessed the entry form a private high school, Pay Fong High School that joined the race in the name of charity. All the contributions from the sponsors were for charity purposes. This year also saw entries from Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.
Racers who participated in MME were no strangers among the Malaysians fans. Names like Karamjit Singh, Jimmy Low, Keifli Othman and Adam Lokman were among the racers who show off their driving skills on the 5.543km track.
In fact, our very first Formula One driver, Alex Yoong also participated in the MME. Spectators also witnessed the participation of Mohamed Fairuz, the young racer who is gearing up to be the next Formula One driver. Kunimitsu Takahashi, a Japan GT driver also participated in MME backed by his own GTA crew.
The spectators who came and witnessed their favourite driver competing and battling each other on the track during MME were the one who supported the event. They were willing to be on the track for 12 hours to experience the actions. It was the only way for you to witness all the best drivers from various categories competing each other on the same track at the same time.
With the carnival atmosphere created for the spectators during MME, it is a new way for the young motorsports enthusiasts to celebrate Malaysia Independence Day. They are the one who act as the catalysts for the development of motorsports in Malaysia.
All information in regards to the 2009 Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race can be obtained at Sepang International Circuit website at www.sepangcircuit.com.my
THE PAST OVERALL WINNERS
2008 D.Nicholas, Darryl O. and WS Mok (Team Porsche Club Singapore)
2007 Lars Nielsen, Sven Herberger, Mokhzani Mahathir (Hong Leong Kencana Racing)
2006 Tengku Djan Ley, Faidzil Alang and Damien French (Proton R3 Motorsports)
2005 Tengku Djan Ley, Genji Hashimoto, Tony Riccirdello (Amprex Proton R3)
2004 Hiroki Katoh, Farriz Fauzy & Eddie Lew (Honda Malaysia Racing)
2003 Firhat Mokhzani, Chin Tzer Jinn & Eric Yeo (G1 Meritus Racing)
2002 Tengku Hammam, Nigel Albon & Tommy Lee (NAZA Jaseri Racing Team)
2001 Jeffrey Wong, Admi Shahrol Ahmad Safian & Tommy Lee (TVR Sports Malaysia)
2000 Karamjit Singh, Jimmy Low & Tommy Lee (Petronas EON Racing Team)
Prize Money & Awards:
Class 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
O RM50, 000 RM25, 000 RM15, 000 3X F1 Ticket 3X F1 Ticket 3X F1 Ticket
A1 RM50, 000 RM25, 000 RM15, 000 3X F1 Ticket 3X F1 Ticket 3X F1 Ticket
A2 RM30, 000 RM20, 000 RM10, 000 3X F1 Ticket 3X F1 Ticket 3X F1 Ticket