Malaysia leaves Thailand behind (again)!

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Hot on the heels of the notice that the local Bira circuit will close at the end of 2013, comes the news that a second F1-standard circuit will be built in Malaysia and will include a driving school aimed at nurturing regional racing talent.

This new track will be in southern Malaysia and is being built by Singapore billionaire investor Peter Lim, a director of UK-based sports car maker McLaren Automotive, whose sister company, McLaren Racing competes in F1.  “The region is fast becoming a hub for motor sports,” Lim said.

Malaysia already has a grand prix track at Sepang outside the capital Kuala Lumpur, which has hosted a round of the F1 championships every year since 1999.

The planned 4.5 km test track is part of a $1.2 billion Motorsport City in the Iskandar development zone in the southern state of Johor.

The local Malaysian developer holds a 30 percent share in the joint project, with Lim’s FASTrack Autosports owning the rest.

Singapore, just over Malaysia’s southern border from Johor, hosts F1’s only night race, at this stage, though Thailand has been told that if it wants a round of the F1 championships, it will have to produce a street race which would also be run at night.