foot down

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 March, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 March, 2005, 12:00am

Salamat datang ke Foot Down! We've a strong Malaysian flavour this week. First, you can still book a quick flit to next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, says Veena Dansinghani of Any Tours Enterprises (tel: 2369 5251, Rm 1014 Peninsula Centre, 67 Mody Rd, Kowloon). She offers a three-night F1 package, from $3,990, flying Malaysian Airlines and staying at the Shangri-la hotel, Kuala Lumpur (includes breakfast and airport transfers). There's a similar deal, from $2,800, at KL's Pan Pacific Hotel.

Prices don't include the nebulous costs of transport to and from the track, so do nail prices and availability before you book.

The circuit says limousines, shuttle services and car rentals are available at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, a 10-minute drive from the track.

If you plan to drive to Sepang, Avis Malaysia quotes M$678 (about $1,390) for a 1.5-litre Proton Wira, from 9am on Saturday to 8pm on Sunday, with an airport pick-up and drop-off. Follow the signs on major highways to the track. Take change for tolls and parking.

The Sepang Circuit, 50km south of Kuala Lumpur, is spectator-friendly, and we hear the best views are in the Mall (upper tier: M$1,000-$1,750 for three days; lower tier: M$700-$1,000; and tower: $1,000-$1,700). You can see lots of action on the 5.543km track, and talk cars with Malaysia's staunchest petrolheads in the Hillstand (covered M$250; uncovered $200). Family packages are on

Sepang is brm-brm noisy, so you'll need earplugs, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and binoculars. We suggest you wear light, comfortable cotton clothing, or a rally coat you daren't be seen wearing in Hong Kong, in case it rains suddenly. And we recommend you dress modestly.

Second, you can whizz around Sepang, yourself. The Classic Car Club of Hong Kong's racing section next month returns to the track for the six-round Sepang Super Series for classic racers. A fairly high degree of modification is permitted by the rules, says race section chairman Gerry Kipling.

Each weekend round of three classifications of classics is usually 12 laps on the half circuit, or eight laps on the full one, with each session comprising untimed practice, qualifying and two races, with trophies.

'It's possible to arrive on the Friday evening flight to Kuala Lumpur and depart on the evening flight Sunday,' says Kipling. 'Excluding personal travel accommodation, 12 races [six weekends], cost well under US$5,000 for the [2004] season.'

Kipling says racers can rent a long-cockpit Caterham Supersprint 1700cc Ford X-Flow, fitted with slicks/wets, for $15,000 per race weekend, with full mechanical support, including consumables and track fees. And we hear that a couple of racers are for sale: a Ford Escort MKII with a 2.0-litre Pinto engine, Cosworth five-speed 'box, modified and lightened throughout, for $100,000; and an MGB GT V8 with a 3.9-litre V8, four-webber, extensively modified and lightened throughout, for $250,000. Race cars can also be readily acquired from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the US, Kipling says.

Race dates: Round 1 Apr 30- May 1; 2 May 28-29; 3 Jun 25-26; 4 Jul 9-10; 5 Aug 26-28; 6 Sep 24-25. Inquiries: tel: 2827 8839, or e-mail gkipling@propertyone

There are two car shows this weekend. The Hyundai Road Show presents the recently launched Sonata 2.4, Trajet 2.0, the matrix 1.8 and the excellent Tucson 2.7, from 10am in the Central Atrium of Olympian City, West Kowloon.

The Let's Mini show adds a hot vibe to the BMW car and bike event from 10am in Hall 1C of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Highlights are the new Mini Cooper S automatic and Mini Cooper S Cabrio automatic, says Kevin Wong of dealers BMW Concessionaires (HK). You can also see the BMW 3-Series and how it fits into the marque's full range of Bangled cars, along with fine bikes and accessories.