With the TGR Vios Challenge Round 1 running smoothly in March, four-wheeled racing is finally back in action at Sepang. But from this point on, some are wondering when will other local racing series like the Malaysia Championship Series be back in action? Luckily for us, Sepang Circuit’s own CEO, Mr. Ahzan Shafriman was able to shed some light on the subject matter during a quick media session on his first anniversary in assuming the position.
Local Racing Series to Resume
Let us go straight to the point, the 2021 Malaysia Championship Series. Since the TGR Vios Challenge had proven that local racing series can resume with the implementation of strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), Shafriman revealed that MCS will take place as soon as somewhere in Q3 of 2021.
Like many of us, it is also his hopes to have multiple rounds held this year, in comparison of last year’s single round showdown. Then again, it all depends on the current situation in Malaysia as we are still trying our best in getting the infection numbers under control.
“We can only plan, I’m not sure how things are going to look like in the future. In terms of rising COVID-19 cases and everything, the government might implement lockdown again. But hopefully, we can run multiple rounds of the local events,” said Shafriman.
Aside from MCS, he also hopes that the annual Sepang 1000KM endurance race could also run this year, especially after its postponement last year due to the pandemic. Sepang 1000KM had been running annually without fail since 2009, that was until the pandemic kicked in.
ARRC to Serve as Regional Races Test Bed
Since late last year, we have been keeping tabs with many regional race series’ calendars like the Super GT and GT World Challenge Asia. However, with the implementation of MCO 2.0 earlier this year, Sepang has either been taken out from the calendar or revised to a later date, in hoping that the situation will improve soon.
Things will be different in 2021 as Sepang will be welcoming the first regional race later in June, in the form of the Asia Road Racing Championship. The ARRC will serve as a test bed for regional races being held in Malaysia where they will be implementing the “sports bubble” protocol.
The idea behind this bubble is that the teams and drivers competing will only be allowed to travel from their hotels to the circuit, and back to their hotels only. This minimizes unnecessary contact between those involved with the championship with the local population, with the hopes of lowering the risk of any possible exposure to the virus. The bubble protocol has been used in other international race series like MotoGP and F1
If the bubble proved itself to work here, it will then serve as the foundation for other regional and international events to take place at Sepang. This includes the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific which is scheduled to take place on September, and the much-awaited MotoGP.
The current COVID-19 infection numbers might have shown great improvement since the implementation of MCO 2.0 in January, and we hope that the numbers will continue to dwindle over the next few months. With great cooperation from both Sepang and the racing teams, motorsports will soon be back in full throttle and hopefully we will be able to see the gates being open to the avid fans as well.