Sepang International Circuit
|Location||Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia|
|Broke ground||1 November 1997|
|Opened||7 March 1999|
|Major events||FIA Formula One
Malaysian Grand Prix
Malaysian Grand Prix
Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race
|Main Circuit (1999–present)|
|Length||5.543 km (3.445 mi)|
|Lap record||1:34.223 ( Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams, 2004)|
The Sepang International Circuit (Malay: Litar Antarabangsa Sepang) is a motorsport race track in Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia. It is located near Kuala Lumpur International Airport, approximately 45 km south of the capital city Kuala Lumpur. It is the venue used for the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix, A1 Grand Prix, Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix and other major motorsport events.
The circuit was officially inaugurated by the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Doktor Mahathir Bin Mohamad on 7 March 1999 at 20:30 MST (UTC+08:00). He subsequently went on to inaugurate the first Moto GP Malaysian Grand Prix on 20 April 1999 (see 1999 Malaysian motorcycle Grand Prix) and the first Formula One Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix on 17 October 1999 (see 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix).
On 23 October 2011, on the second lap of the MotoGP Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix, the Italian motorcycle racer Marco Simoncelli died following a crash in turn 11 on Lap 2, resulting in an abandonment of the race.
The main circuit, normally raced in a clockwise direction, is 5.543 kilometres long, and is noted for its sweeping corners and wide straights. The layout is quite unusual, with a very long back straight (927 metres) separated from the pit straight by just one very tight hairpin.
Other configurations of the Sepang circuit can also be used. The north circuit is also raced in a clockwise direction. It is basically the first half of the main circuit. The course turns back towards the pit straight after turn 6 and is 2.71 kilometres long in total.
The south circuit is the other half of the racecourse. The back straight of the main circuit becomes the pit straight when the south circuit is in use, and joins onto turn 8 of the main circuit to form a hairpin turn. Also run clockwise, this circuit is 2.61 km in length.
A lap in a Formula One car
Sepang starts with a long pit straight where the DRS zone exists – it is important to get a good exit out of the last corner to gain as much speed as possible. Turn 1 is a very long, slow corner taken in second gear. You brake incredibly late and lose speed gradually as you file round the corner, similar to Shanghai's first turn but slower. Turn 1 leads straight into Turn 2, a tight left hairpin which goes downhill quite significantly. The first two corners are quite bumpy, making it hard to put power onto the track. Turn 3 is a long flat out right hander which leads into Turn 4 – known locally as the Langkawi Curve – a second gear, right-angle right-hander. Turns 5 and 6 make up an incredibly high-speed, long chicane that hurts tyres and puts a lot of stress on drivers due to high G-Force. It is locally known as the Genting Curve. Turns 7 and 8 (the KLIA curve) make up a long, medium-speed, double-apex right hander, and a bump can cause the car to lose balance here. Turn 9 is a very slow left-hand hairpin (the Berjaya Tioman Corner), similar to turn two but uphill. Turn 10 leads into a challenging, medium-speed right hander at turn 11, requiring braking and turning simultaneously. Turn 12 is a flat-out, bumpy left which immediately leads into the flat right at turn 13, then the challenging 'Sunway Lagoon' curve at turn 14. Similar to turn 11, it requires hard-braking and steering at the same time. It is taken in second gear. The long back straight can be a good place for overtaking as you can brake hard into turn 15, a left-handed, second-geared hairpin but you have to be careful not to get re-overtaken as you come into turn 1 again.
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