Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit (SIC) will become a new part of the International Motorcycling Federation’s (FIM) Endurance World Championship (EWC) after the venue held a vote to determine which events to target following the end of its Formula One deal.
The 2019-20 EWC season will welcome the Sepang 8 Hours race on December 7, 2019. The event will be the first-ever winter race in the championship’s history, and its second race in Asia. It will serve as a qualifying event for the EWC’s showpiece end of season round at Suzuka, Japan. The new round is the result of calendar restructuring undertaken by Eurosport Events, the FIM EWC promoter since 2015.
The new event’s status means the finest Asian teams hoping to qualify for Suzuka will be on track in Malaysia together with the permanent EWC teams, who will be invited to Sepang. Eurosport Events will cover the costs of European and Japanese teams competing at Sepang.
The Sepang 8 Hours will be given substantial media coverage on all five continents with the support of the Discovery Group, Eurosport Events’ parent company.
Sepang hosted its final F1 race in 2017 after an agreement was reached to end its contract with the motor-racing championship one year early.
Razlan Razali, Sepang chief executive, said: “Based on a public survey that SIC conducted for three months last year, we are pleased that this race series FIM EWC was voted as events that Malaysians would like to see at Sepang Circuit as a replacement for Formula One.
“Interests for two-wheel events has grown in Malaysia for the last eight years and we are excited for this event to take place in December 2019 after all the major events are completed and we hope to attract top riders to race in the Sepang 8 Hours.”
Vito Ippolito, FIM president, added: “When we signed our promotion contract with Eurosport, in 2015, we had great hopes for our FIM Endurance World Championship to progress in terms of team participation, in term of new events, and especially in terms of media coverage. I must recognise that we have not been disappointed. Many of our hopes have been filled.”