Does a Grand Prix on the streets of Kuala Lumpur sound interesting? Hell yeah. The Kuala Lumpur Street GT Race from the 7th to 9th August was just that. I’m far from a sports junkie especially car racing but I admit it was thrilling to see Supercars, V8’s and the Formula Series in action down the straights and corners of streets most KL’ites are all too familiar with.
The 3.2km circuit ran along well-known streets of the capital city such as Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Pinang with several grand stands erected at strategic locations along the circuit. A little tropical rain which is normal for KL weather only added to the thrills and spills on race day 1 and 2. The barricades put up for the race made it difficult to get decent panning shots or any clear views of the race but in the name of public safety, it was a necessarily good thing to have around the track. Most people found their way up onto the stairways of the LRT stations to get better views of the race.
The Premium Walkabout area for which tickets were sold was also open to the public. The ground staff had no clue as to what the tickets were for. The organisers clearly did not give the ticketing aspects of this event much thought nor were the stewards manning the event much help for those with tickets. The 3 day event is claimed to have attracted a 250K audience, a number I do not think is accurate. Looks more like a number cooked up to keep the bean counters happy.
On race day the grand stands were empty and the crowds were mostly gathered at the start/finish line at the Petronas Twin Towers. Most of the walk way areas were sparsely populated with a handful of people.
There were of course the usual complaints from businesses and the public alike during the run up to the event citing traffic congestion due to barricades and road closures but all in all it was a good first time effort on the part of the organisers.
However for next year’s GP, they will need to look into the shortcomings of this years race and step it up a notch if they hope to compete with the likes of Singapore, Monaco or Macau’s street GPs.