Monday, Jan 8 02:52pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Supercars included on Sepang public vote for F1 replacement

A public vote has been launched by Sepang International Circuit in a bid to gauge interest in what championship should replace the former Malaysian Grand Prix hosted at the circuit. 


Japan's AUTOBACS SUPER GT Series, the World Superbike Championship, FIA World Endurance Championship, FIM Endurance World Championship, Germany's DTM, and the FIA World Touring Car Championship have all been included on the vote alongside the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. 


The vote has only been live for five days, but has already attracted interest from fans. Currently the SUPER GT Series leads on just over 300 votes, with the Supercars Championship in fifth with just under 30 votes. 


Click here to see the public interest vote


The Formula 1 World Championship held the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit between 1999 and 2017 . However, the race was dropped from the 2018 calendar after the Malaysian government questioned the event's merit. 

The move came after ticket sales for the event were far lower than those of the Moto GP Malysia Motorcycle Grand Prix. It was reportedly estimated the event cost the government US$67 million each year to host a round of the Formula 1 season.


At least 120,000 people can fit into the Sepang International Circuit, but in 2016 only 45,000 people attended the race. By contrast, the Moto GP round held in 2017 was sold out.


With Formula 1 on the outter, the circuit has opened up a public vote to see what fans are interested in seeing at the circuit. Of note is the inclusion of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, which was tipped to race at the South-East Asian facility. 


Last year it was revealed by Supercars that Sepang International Circuit Chief Executive Officver Razlan Razali had lodged interest with the Australian series to host a round of the championship. 


“We need to ensure whatever event we take on after Formula 1 has to be a win-win situation between us as a circuit and the right holders,” Razali told


“We need to ensure it has a necessary awareness and pull to get the crowds, because the Sepang circuit is a huge facility with 100,000 people capacity. In fact we are talking to V8 Supercars to see if an event can happen in 2018."


Despite wanting a round in 2018, Razali couldn't get a slot on the calendar. 


Razali's interest in bringing the Supercars Championship to Malaysia comes after a failed attempt to have the series race on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. 

The championship was supposed to run a round in 2016 at the Kuala Lumpur City Grand Prix after demonstration runs in 2015. However, that never came to fruition after legal issues threw the event into disarray. 


Razali said he was well aware of the issues behind the failed street circuit event, but believes there is still interest to race in South-East Asia.


“With V8s, there’s some sort of awareness in 2015 due to the KL City Grand Prix demo for Malaysians. I think no doubt, with the Supercars, Aussies will continue to come and watch in Sepang.


“But what’s important is that we must have a program to have awareness to Malaysians, so that 60 percent of the capacity will be Malaysians themselves."


Razali expressed his desire to have a Malaysian drive a Supercar in the championship, and that would add value to hosting a round of the championship. Razali also hoped a round could be held between April and June. 


Photo: GP Malaysia