KL City GP to assess track changes for 2016

The bumps and kerb profiles in the Turn 14/15 chicane proved one of many talking points at the weekend

The bumps and kerb profiles in the Turn 14/15 chicane proved one of many talking points at the weekend

KL City GP organisers are already preparing to tweak the Kuala Lumpur street circuit for next year following the weekend’s inaugural running of the event.

The work of British design firm Apex and Australian track specialist Simon Gardini, the tight but high speed 3.2km venue was largely praised by the V8 Supercars drivers over the weekend for its ‘ballsy’ nature.

While the basic layout is not expected to change, Gardini says that a variety of areas can be improved ahead of the planned arrival of the full V8 Supercars field in 2016.

Despite the high frequency of passes during the weekend’s demonstrations, overtaking is expected to be a major challenge at the venue next year when points are on the line.

“There’s certainly room for tweaking here and there,” Gardini told Speedcafe.com.

“Like with any project you work within the reality of certain budgets and you push them (the organisers) to make sure you get into the safest position possible.

“Certainly with the geometry of the turns and that aspect, I think we got those things really right.

“Considering the huge amount of traffic that pours over these roads through the year, I think we need to work on achieving a smoother surface on the older section of the circuit from Turn 11 to 16.

“The other major things to me in terms of track would be where we can open up some corners a bit more, potential realignments and things.

“Nothing is unsafe at the moment, but we’ll look at things that could improve the racing because I’m really mindful of having good racing with 26 cars.

“They’re doing pretty big speeds, up to 240km/h into Turn 2, so with those sort of speeds and a few tight exits, there’s things to work on.”

As previously reported, meeting V8 Supercars’ desire for a full garaged pitlane with which it can undertake pitstop races looms as the biggest design hurdle for next year.

Gardini admits that V8 Supercars may have to compromise on its position ahead of next year due to the lack of space in the pitlane, which the organisers are committed to having underneath the iconic Petronas Towers.

“V8 Supercars are big on it (a full pitlane) but they run a lot of different formats as well,” said Gardini.

“We’ve talked to James (Warburton, V8 Supercars CEO) and the rest of the guys and there’s a few options in what format they might run.

“We’ve also got a few options on the configuration to get paddock space.

“I’m not sure where we’d get garages from, but they’re pretty flexible when it comes to the opportunity to run in KL.”

This year saw the KL circuit built in just seven weeks; the same time frame that is used for construction at the now well rehearsed Albert Park Formula 1 event.

Delays closing the circuit to local traffic triggered a late completion of the venue, holding Friday’s opening day of practice back by five hours.

Confident of a smoother build the second time around, Gardini remains mindful of limiting the disruption to the city.

“I truly believe that with city circuits, because of the environment you put them in, if you don’t limit the installation period, then disruption is a big problem,” he said.

“You could have the greatest race in the world but if all the people are not supportive of it, it doesn’t work.

“You’ve got to make it so good that the benefits far outweigh the disruption.”

Gardini expects the circuit to take just three weeks to completely dismantle, with no permanent structures or kerbing to be left behind.

VIDEO: Craig Lowndes describes a lap of the KL City GP circuit

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