Our third race of the year takes us to the heat and humidity of Malaysia to race Sepang International Circuit. A purpose built track designed by Hermann Tilke, Sepang was inaugurated in March 1999 and played host to its first Grand Prix in October of that year.
The track is most notable for the two long straights at the start and end of the lap, but much of the track can be raced at high speeds. The pit straight positions the starting grid towards the back of the straight, leaving plenty of room for the back markers to catch up with those starting higher up. The first corner will slow everyone down just before the long Langkawi curve that can be taken flat out.
That long stretch leads into the second sector, which starts with a quick right hander followed by a pair of long, slower corners. Both of these corners feel like they should be able to be taken at higher speeds than they probably should, and there will likely be some drivers caught out in this part of the track.
The final corner of the second sector is a sharp left hander that represents the first taste of what the third sector has to offer. As the cars weave their way through the track’s final third, they’ll be going left-right-left-right as they try to maximize speed in the run up to the long back straight. Hit the hairpin just right and they’ll be flying down the pit straight. Cars that manage a clean first lap will have an advantage if they can opt to forego the pits, but the chances of that will probably be small.
Malaysia takes the place of last year’s night race on the streets of Singapore. That was an extremely close race with little chance for high speeds due to the tight nature of the circuit. The two tracks couldn’t be more different despite coming from neighboring countries.
The starting order will be the reverse order of the individual driver standings, which puts drivers from four different teams on the first two rows. With Nero at the front and Ice at the back, it’s the first time drivers from the same team have bookended the field. Nero’s only other start from pole position was in the SBMRL’s inaugural race in Austin in 2015.
- Nero (CO)
- The Stig (SB)
- Captain Slow (SB)
- Launch Bornado (RM)
- Jaronimus Maximus (ORC)
- Danger Wheel (RB)
- Jamonito del Verde (ORC)
- Mater (RB)
- Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
- Ice (CO)
The Stig and Captain Slow start 2nd and third after both starting on the front row in Singapore. Captain Slow won that race, with Nero close behind.
Pit selection is the reverse order of average start position for the team’s two drivers. That results in:
- Red Bull
- Regency Motors
- Osito Racing Company
- Scandinavian Blitz