Would you believe us if we said the northern region of peninsular Malaysia is home to quite a few motorsport circuits?
Well, that number may grow by one as the Penang government has designated a plot of land next to the Batu Kawan stadium complex on the mainland for the development of a motorsports circuit.
The Star reported that Penang’s youth and sports committee chairman, Soon Lip Chee, stated that a 2.8ha plot had been earmarked to the east of the main stadium, beside Sungai Jawi. Prior to this, a number of motorsports events have already been held on the grounds of the stadium; namely the Toyota Gazoo Racing Vios Challenge as well as various open drift days.
“The state intends to build a conducive racing circuit to unearth new motorsports talents. It’s among the projects listed in the state Pakatan Harapan manifesto during the 14th General Election and will serve as a component to turn the area into a ‘Sports City,’” said Soon.
“The state via Penang Stadium and Open Space Corporation called for proposals for the project last month,” he added.
In fact, the request for proposals was opened on 17 May 2021 and closed last Tuesday (8 June 2021) but the state has expressed a possibility of extending the deadline for more private sector companies to toss their hat into the ring.
Requirements for the circuit include the usual array of grandstands and spectator areas, dedicated parking and administrative offices. He added that all proposals submitted must meet all criteria necessitated by the Motorsports Association of Malaysia.
The circuit should be able to cater events and competitions at a national and international grade.
Soon went on to explain that a lack of proper infrastructure has been a hurdle for budding motorsports enthusiasts in the state to further develop their talents.
“This track will serve as a permanent space for people to race legally without endangering others on public roads. Races can be held for motorcycles and probably other motor vehicles as well, depending on the track design,” he enthused.
The timeline for the circuit is three years with funding completely from the private sector.
Firms interested in submitting their proposal for the motorsport facility can click here for the open tender.
Even putting aside this possible new circuit in Penang, the northern region is already home to a circuit each at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP).
Adding to that would be the Morac Adventure Park on Langkawi island; although that’s only for go-karts.
However, recently we covered the proposal of a new international-grade circuit on Langkawi Island; the Open Road International Circuit (ORIC), that’s also slated for completion in the same timeframe, albeit on a much larger scale.
Alongside ORIC, the same developer has also promised to complete the stagnant Litar Rakyat Sungai Petani for a more accessible, grassroots option on the mainland.
Once things return to normal, it appears that motorsports enthusiasts will be making a beeline for the north to get their driving fix.