Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race
|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (August 2010)|
The Sepang 12 Hours (formerly known as the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race and Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race), is a 12 Hours endurance racing event held annually since 2000 at the Sepang International Circuit on December in Malaysia.
Historically part of the Merdeka holiday, the race was moved to December by Ratel to make the race as the first of four major endurance races held in the traditional off-season of motorsport -- Dubai, Daytona (both January), and Bathurst (February) are the others.
In the late 1990s, Malaysian auto manufacturer Proton used to organize a 300 km race at Shah Alam circuit for local racers racing with Protons, to celebrate Merdeka in Malaysia. When Sepang International Circuit was built the race was shifted to the F1 circuit, with the winners of the race entitled to a new Proton road car.
But after the 1999 race, a dispute happened between Proton and Sepang International Circuit, resulting in Proton's sponsorship withdrawal. Sepang therefore decided to host a replacement race by itself and started the Merdeka Millennium 12 Hours Endurance Race in 2000. The race also opened up for non-Proton entries.
In 2001, TVR Racing won the race with Jeffery Wong, Tommy Lee and Admi Shahrul in a TVR Chimaera.
In 2002, Amprex Motorsport entered the Japan GT300 spec Mazda RX-7 machine, with crack Hong Kong driver Charles Kwan and Kevin Wong as its drivers. But the car failed to finish the race. Nigel Albon, Tommy Lee and T. Hamman won in their Porsche 911 GT3.
In 2003, the race got more serious with BSA Racing entering a Radical SR3 and a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Wolf Henzler as its lead driver, while Amprex Motorsport entered the BMW M3 GT for Charles Kwan, Matthew Marsh and Genji Hashimoto. Alex Yoong was also back with Jaseri Racing. But in the end unfancied G1-Meritus won the race after outlasting its rivals, with Eric Yeo, Firhat Mohkzani and Chin Tzer-Jinn driving their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car serenely to victory after completing 268 laps.
In 2004, Amprex Motorsport, armed with the latest ACO/FIA GT1 spec Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT racer, totally dominated proceedings as its drivers set laps of 2:09s around the circuit. But the car broke down and Honda Malaysia Racing Team, with Eddie Lew, Farriz Fauzy and Super GT driver Hiroki Katoh, took the top step of the podium, despite running in class A.
The 2005 edition was dominated by a joint effort between Amprex Motorsport and Proton R3 Racing, together they operated the team and their Lotus Exige 300RR won outright, completing 279 laps.
In 2006, Amprex Motorsport decided to bring back the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT for the race but it was crippled in a practice accident, allowing Proton R3 Racing's Lotus Exige 300RR a clear run to victory number 2, completing 271 laps in the process. Faidzil Alang, Australian Damien French and Tengku Djan Ley shared the driving duties.
The 2007 race has been made more interesting with more participation from foreign teams racing teams, namely J's Racing Lab with a Honda S2000 and Juniper Racing with a 911 GT3 RSR. Famous racing drivers such as former F1 and 24 Hours of Le Mans driver Hans-Joachim Stuck also participated in the race. Year 2007 also record the highest participation so far with 103 cars signing up for the race but only 77 makes it to the starting grid in accordance to the FIA circuit license granted to Sepang International Circuit.
The race was renamed the Sepang 12 Hours in 2014, and in 2015 will be run under the organisation of international sportscar racing authority the Stephane Ratel Organisation.
Multiple race winners
|3||23x15px Tommy Lee|
|23x15px Weng Sun Mok|
|2||23x15px Tengku Djan Ley|
|23x15px Tunku Hammam Sulong|
|Template:Country data JPN Nobuteru Taniguchi|
|Template:Country data JPN Masataka Yanagida|
|23x15px Dominic Ang|
- Tommy Lee is the only driver to have won the Open class three times. He raced for three different teams for the wins: PERT, TVR and Jaseri Racing.
- The Honda Malaysia Racing Team (HMRT) has won class A four times in a row since 2003, it also won the race overall in 2004.
- Malaysia racing wonder kid Jazeman Jaafar had become the youngest participant of MMER in 2007 at the age of 14.
- Team Porsche Club Singapore became the first foreign team to win the Merdeka Millennium Endurance in 2008.
- "BSA racing debut at MME". radicalextremesportscars.com. August 30, 2003. Retrieved 2008-07-30.[dead link]
- Porsche Club Singapore Wins Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race
- "HMRT History". Honda Malaysia. Retrieved 2008-07-30.[dead link]
- "Porsche Club Singapore Wins Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race". Sepang Circuit. Retrieved 17 September 2011.