The Motorsports City complex in Nusajaya, Johor, is still more than three years away before it is ready for business, but the wooing of companies here to use its facilities has already begun in earnest.
The RM3.5 billion (S$1.4 billion) property is 70 per cent owned by Singapore billionaire Peter Lim’s FasTrack Autosports, with UEM, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s state-owned Khazanah Nasional Berhad, holding the remaining shares.
The lure of Motorsports City is its proximity to the Republic – it is five minutes away from the Tuas Second Link – and FasTrack Chief Executive Barry Kan said the company’s vision is that of a top-notch facility that will eventually have a hub of automotive and motorsports industries growing around it.
Kan is anticipating that automotive manufacturers, especially those from Singapore, will be one of its first customers to test products under humid conditions.
He also expressed confidence that the majority of the facility’s patrons will come from the city state when it opens for business in 2016, saying: “We went around talking to people in the racing fraternity here, and there is a demand for a track close by.
“Racing enthusiasts are now using Sepang and it takes them more than eight hours to go there and back, but we will be only five minutes from the Second Link and they will get more track time.
“We are opening up to the prospect that Singaporeans will be the main users of our track.”
Formula 1’s Hermann Tilke has been chosen as the man who will design its centrepiece 4.5km track at Iskandar. Although the Motorsports City circuit’s FIA Grade 2 certification will not allow it to host F1 races, Tilke’s involvement is expected to give the project a certain pedigree.
And close to the FasTrack boss’ heart is giving the Singapore Motor Sports Association (SMSA) a venue to conduct races for their members.
Prospects of a permanent track here dimmed after the consortium constructing the Changi Motorsports Hub ran out of money and had its contract terminated at the end of 2011.
The Singapore Sports Council is still studying the viability of reviving it and a decision is expected by the middle of the year.