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Motorsports hub to open in Johor

FASTrack Autosports has a 70 per cent stake in this project and will manage the facility. -TNP
Lim Say Heng

Fri, Dec 07, 2012
The New Paper

JOHOR BARU/SINGAPORE - Fancy challenging yourself and your vehicle in a track that its owners are proclaiming as the "Nurburgring of Iskandar Malaysia", after the world-famous track in Nurburg, Germany?

Petrolheads in the South-east Asian region would just have to wait till the completion of the RM$3.5 billion (S$1.4b) Motorsports City in the Iskandar Malaysia region in 2015 or 2016 to do just that.

The project was formalised last Tuesday on the first day of the three-day World Islamic Economic Forum in Johor Baru.

It is a joint venture between FASTrack Autosports - controlled by Singaporean billionaire investor Peter Lim in partnership with the Johor royal family - and Malaysian company UEM Land, a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

The sprawling motorsports hub will be built on 110 hectares of land about five minutes from the Tuas Second Link, with facilities such as an international race-certified 1.5km go-kart track, a car museum and an advanced driving school.

The main Grade 2 GT 4.5km track is capable of hosting MotoGP and GT events.

FASTrack Autosports has a 70 per cent stake in this project and will manage the facility, while UEM Land holds the remaining 30 per cent stake.

The concept is similar to that of the Changi Motorsports Hub project here, which was canned in May this year when the winning consortium ran into financial problems.

However, they differ in land size and the lease of the land.

CMH was meant to be built on 41ha of land on a 30-year lease, while the Motorsports City will more than twice that size and built on freehold land.

Said Lim at a press conference in JB last Tuesday: "(The Motorsports City) is an interesting project, something that I love and I think we can build a fairly sound business model from, especially with the high costs of doing business in Singapore and also the availability of labour here...

"Actually, that is the main reason I believe this project will take off very well."

Not meant to compete

FASTrack Autosports chief executive officer Barry Kan said the Motorsports City is not meant to compete with the F1 race tracks in Sepang and in Singapore.

Said the former managing director of Wearnes Automative's prestige division: "We have a very good terrain and we intend to use as much of it in this track as possible.

"We spoke to track designers such as Hermann Tilke and showed them the topographical drawings of the track. Tilke was very excited and said 'I can create a Nurburgring in this part of the world'."

UEM Land chief executive officer and managing director Dato Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said they are in the midst of submitting detailed plans to the Malaysian authorities and expect construction to begin in six months.

Kan said: "Our vision is for Motorsports City to be the premier autodrome in the region. We are excited with the potential, especially given the growing number of car enthusiasts in Singapore and Malaysia."

This is Lim's second project in the Iskandar Malaysia region after his RM$10b Vantage Bay integrated development deal inked late last month.

He said he was looking at "one or two" more projects in the Iskandar Malaysia region.

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