Once Upon A Time: Batu Tiga Speedway Circuit #BlogPost
Long before Sepang International Circuit came into existence in 1999, most of Malaysia’s Motorsport events took place at Batu Tiga Speedway Circuit, which was in Shah Alam - the capital city of Selangor.
Batu Tiga Speedway Circuit - also known as Shah Alam Circuit - was designed by John Hugenholtz and opened in 1968, with the first Malaysian Grand Prix won by Indonesian Hengkie Iriawan. From then, it became the venue of the Malaysian Grand Prix until 1982. The last Malaysian Grand Prix held in Shah Alam was held in 1995 for Formula Holden.
Over the years, it had seen a lot of races ranging from open wheeled racing like Formula Atlantic, Formula Pacific, Formula 2, Formula Holden to endurance racing like - most notably - the 1985 Malaysia 800 Selangor World Sportscar Championship, won by Jacky Ickx, who drove a Porsche 962C, although it was a non-points race for teams. There’s also Group A touring car racing to throw into the mix! It was THE PLACE for Malaysian petrolheads - including Dad, who had fond memories of it. Even Jackie Chan’s “Thunderbolt” was filmed here!
In 1977, an accident occured during the Malaysian Grand Prix, killing 5 children. This caused the track to be closed down, although it was re-opened after improvements of fences and guard rails were carried out. In 1983, the track was lengthened from 3.38 km to 3.693 km with the addition of Curve 11 and the first international event was held: the World Sportscar Championship.
In addition to the Malaysian Grand Prix and other forms of motorcar racing, BTSC also hosted rounds of the Superbike World Championship in 1990 and 1991, and from 1991 to 1997, the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. Mick Doohan is the all-time leader in motorcycle Grand Prix victories at the venue, winning the event four times. Later, the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix moved to Johor Circuit in 1998, before moving again to Sepang International Circuit, which still continued to this day.
Ever since the Sepang International Circuit came into existence in 1999, BTSC became outdated. The number of visitors dropped, and no longer do they need to host major races there since Sepang is a much better track. Besides, as Malaysia is constantly developing and her population increasing, there’s a need for more land for more housing.
In 2003, the circuit was sold by Selangor state government to a property developer, which then developed the area into a luxury housing area called D’Kayangan.
It is a shame that BTSC is gone, and not even a single trace of it is left. There’s no grand stand, no paddock, no proof that there was once a very popular race track in Shah Alam. However, all is not lost, as the legendary BTSC is still well alive in the minds and hearts of those whose been there, those whose watched the races, or raced on the track itself. My dad watched several of those races when he was studying in Shah Alam over 30 years ago. Still, as much as I wished they kept BTSC for grassroots motorsports purposes, the ever-growing population demanded more land, and therefore the death of BTSC. It may be gone, but not in the hearts of Malaysian petrolheads.
The Batu Tiga Speedway Circuit Track Details In Brief:
Total Area: 143 acres (0.58 km2)
No. of Pits: 57 units, 42 units concrete pit (22’ x 17’), 15 units wooden pits (22’ x 7’)
Spectator capacity: Covered grandstand - 8000, Uncovered grandstand - 18,000
Track length: 3.38km / 3.69km
No. of Turns: 14. Left -4, Right -10
Straights: 3. The longest straight was 600 meters.
Gate Entrances: 3