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Malaysia had long held ambitions to host premier international motor sport and in 1999 the Sepang International Circuit was opened, worthy of hosting both the Formula 1 and MotoGP World Championships. Thought to have cost £50 million, it was built in just 14 months - with at one stage 2500 workers were on site. It was designed and built by the famous circuit designer Hermann Tilke, responsible for the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, Shanghai International Circuit in China, and the most recent iterations of the Red Bull Ring in Austria and Hockenheimring in Germany.
The result is a futuristic blend of stainless steel and glass-fronted buildings and an impressive double-sided main grandstand capable of seating 50,000 spectators. It has been designed to encourage overtaking, being very wide and containing at least four slow corners following long straights. The other 11 corners are medium-to high-speed. Combined with the unpredictable weather, which can be anything between a heatwave and a monsoon, this is always an exciting race which can throw up some unexpected results.