The Motul Sepang 12 Hours has been canceled a month before its scheduled Dec. 7-10 running due to a low car count.
SRO Motorsports Group, the event organizer, was hoping to have at least 20 entries for the end-of-season race but wound up with “just over a dozen” cars. SRO cited several factors in its decision, including lower-than-expected attendance, an increased number of categories and long-distance GT races and lack of manufacturer motivation since the International GT Challenge title became a largely two-horse race after last month’s California 8 Hours at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The Intercontinental GT Challenge Drivers’ and Manufactuerrs’ titles have thus been decided by the three previous rounds at Bathurst, Spa and Laguna Seca. With wins at Spa and Laguna Seca, Audi took the Manufacturers’ title (its second consecutive) and Audi’s Markus Winkelhock is the Drivers’ champion.
“It’s been a very difficult decision,” said 12 Hours general manager Benjamin Franassovici. “Obviously we never want to cancel an event, and SRO certainly doesn’t make a habit of it, but we feel this is the only realistic option available to us less than six weeks before the race is due to take place. SRO rightly considers an endurance event featuring less than 18 cars unviable. It’s also important to retain the Sepang 12 Hours’ spectacle, and – given the present situation – I don’t think that would have been possible in 2017.
“Canceling suitably ahead of time is therefore considered a more responsible option than staging a high-profile endurance race below capacity.”
SRO says it will work with Sepang International Circuit to re-evaluate options that will secure the race’s future going forward.
SRO’s inaugural Blancpain GT Series Asia campaign saw more success with its hour-long sprint races.