The Silverstone connection to the Batu Tiga Circuit

The Silverstone Circuit where the Formula 1 ARAMCO British Grand Prix is on today has an indirect connection to the Batu Tiga racing circuit, Malaysia’s first purpose-built racetrack which was opened in 1967. While designing the layout of the circuit at the newly opened Shah Alam township in Selangor, it was the layout of Silverstone that was referred to and certain parts of the British track were adopted.

The designer was Dutchman John Hugenholtz who was involved in many of the older circuits before Hermann Tilke, who is responsible for designing most of today’s F1 tracks (including the Sepang International Circuit). Hugenholtz also designed some F1 tracks such as Suzuka, Zolder and Jarama. He is credited with having introduced layers of fencing in certain areas to ‘catch’ cars coming off the track and slow them down, rather than using solid barriers which could be more harmful to the drivers in collisions.

Silverstone Circuit
Silverstone Circuit in England, opened in 1948, was build on an airfield that had been used during World War II.

Silverstone was much older, of course, having opened in 1948, and had been built on a disused airfield that used during World War II. It was on flatter ground whereas the terrain at Shah Alam was undulating, with the Federal Highway connecting Kuala Lumpur and Port Klang just adjacent to the site of the circuit.

Hosted a round of World Sportscar Championship
The Batu Tiga circuit was opened in September 1967 and would be a popular venue for many decades for both car and motorcycle events. Although there were single-seater events, it never hosted a round of the Formula 1 championship. Nevertheless, in 1985, one round of the World Sportscar Championship (today known as the World Endurance Championship) was held at Batu Tiga. It was called the Selangor 800 kms and was won by Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass in a Rothmans Porsche 956.

Batu Tiga Circuit 1985 | JPS BMW
In 1985, the circuit layout was altered slightly with a loop which shortened the Shell Straight and added 3 new corners, as well as increased the length by 310 metres.

The original circuit was 3.38 kms long and had 12 turns, with a long straight on the northern side that was called the Shell Straight. In 1985, the layout was slightly changed as the long Shell Straight became shorter with a loop created in the central area of the track. This added three new turns and increased the lap distance to 3.69 kms.

Closed after 37 years
Although it was a popular venue for various events (including motocross and rallies), the Batu Tiga circuit was eventually closed in 2003 as there was the more modern and F1-certified circuit at Sepang. There had been an idea at one time to have a large sports complex in the area that included the circuit but it never materialised. Instead the state government decided it was a better idea to let a private developer build luxury homes on the site.

Visit MyRacingCareer.Com to take a virtual drive around the Batu Tiga Circuit.

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