Malaysia’s 12 Hours of Sepang disappeared altogether after being cancelled in 2017 due to a low number of entries. For six years the race was not held. Then in 2023, it was revived by Top Speed and now, it is back again in 2024.

By Steven Walton

The race was first staged at Kuala Lumpur’s Sepang International Circuit in 2000 and for many years the race was called the Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race.

The race was held annually until 2016. A month before it was due to be held in 2017, then-organiser SRO Motorsport Group cancelled the race, saying it had not attracted enough entries. Between 2017 and 2022, the race was not held.

Then, in 2023, the 12 Hours of Sepang was revived thanks to a partnership between new race organisers Top Speed and the Sepang International Circuit.

The 2023 edition took place over eight hours and attracted 13 entries.

Now in 2024, the 12 Hours of Sepang is back again on March 14-16 and this year the race will take place over the full 12 hours.

The race is scheduled to run from 10 am to 10 pm local time (2 am to 2 pm GMT) on Saturday, March 16.

12 Hours of Sepang was ‘sorely missed’

Top Speed’s Cyrille Taesch told Asian Motorsport the 12 Hours of Sepang was “sorely missed and we thought it was really worth giving a try”.

“After Covid-19, things restarted really slowly but we saw the opportunity,” he said.

Taesch said the 12 Hours of Sepang is special because “it is recognized as the blue ribbon for endurance racing in South East Asia”.

He said teams and drivers from the Asia Pacific region liked the Sepang International Circuit not just for its “very nice layout”, but because it is well connected and “one of the teams’ favourite hubs in the region”.

Top Speed has helped develop motorsport across the Asia region since its founding in 2008.

The organisation plays an integral role in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship and Formula 4 UAE. Top Speed also organises the Shanghai 8 Hours endurance race.

Taesch said holding the 12 Hours of Sepang in 2023 while still coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic made it even more challenging, “as teams had just not raced for two years at all.”

“That is why the first edition ran over eight hours only before returning to 12 hours this year,” he said.

The revived 2023 race attracted well-known Asian teams, including Absolute Racing, Craft-Bamboo Racing and AAI Racing.

A full entry list for the 2024 race is due to be released on Wednesday.

Header image credit: 12 Hours of Sepang

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