Earlier this year, we heard about plans to build an international-grade motorsports circuit in Langkawi, part of a RM1.3 billion motorsports facility that will also feature luxury residences, luxury retail outlets, five-star hotels, 4S car dealerships and a 900-car storage facility along with F&B.
Now, Penang wants some track action as well. The Star reports that the state has earmarked a spot for a racing circuit in Batu Kawan, next to the state stadium complex. The 2.8ha plot of land is to the east of the main stadium building beside Sungai Jawi.
“The state intends to build a conducive racing circuit to unearth new motorsports talents. It is 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 Penang youth and sports committee chairman Soon Lip Chee.
He said that the state via Penang Stadium and Open Space Corporation called for proposals for the project on May 17. It was closed last Tuesday, but the state may extend the deadline for companies. Proposals must meet all the criteria of the Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM), such as infrastructure like spectator areas, parking lots and administrative offices.
“The racing circuit will be used for events and competitions at the national and international levels. This will stimulate the growth of Penang,” the exco member said, adding that Penang has a large number of talented motoring enthusiasts but they lack good opportunities to develop due to the absence of a proper racing circuit.
“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. We hope to complete the project within three years. This project will be fully funded by the private sector,” he added.
From what is being said, the circuit that Penang wants sounds more like sports facility that’s not too different from a stadium. It does sound more grassroots than the luxury motorsports resort planned in Langkawi, which will take advantage of the island’s duty free status and beautiful views.
In contrast, there’s absolutely nothing glamorous about Batu Kawan, so this could well be a home for the regular racing enthusiast in the northern region. Besides races, circuits also host many driving events such as car launches and driver training courses – private events are the main revenue source for Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia’s top track.
So, what do you think of Penang’s plans for a circuit?