The Sepang 12 Hours (formerly known as the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race and Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race), was a 12 Hours endurance racing event held annually between 2000 and 2016 at the Sepang International Circuit on December in Malaysia.
It was organised by the Stephane Ratel Organisation, responsible for global GT3 standards in international sportscar racing.
Historically part of the Merdeka holiday, the race was moved to December by Ratel to make the race as the first of four major endurance races held in the Northern Hemisphere winter, the traditional off-season of motorsport, with the others the Dubai 24 Hour (Creventic 24H Series) and the Rolex 24 at Daytona (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in January, and the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February are the others.
In the late 1990s, Malaysian auto manufacturer Proton used to organize a 300 km race at Shah Alam circuit for local racers racing with Protons, to celebrate Merdeka in Malaysia. When Sepang International Circuit was built the race was shifted to the F1 circuit, with the winners of the race entitled to a new Proton road car.
But after the 1999 race, a dispute happened between Proton and Sepang International Circuit, resulting in Proton's sponsorship withdrawal. Sepang therefore decided to host a replacement race by itself and started the Merdeka Millennium 12 Hours Endurance Race in 2000. The race also opened up for non-Proton entries.
In 2001, TVR Racing won the race with Jeffery Wong, Tommy Lee and Admi Shahrul in a TVR Chimaera.
In 2002, Amprex Motorsport entered the Japan GT300 spec Mazda RX-7 machine, with crack Hong Kong driver Charles Kwan and Kevin Wong as its drivers. But the car failed to finish the race. Nigel Albon, Tommy Lee and T. Hamman won in their Porsche 911 GT3.
In 2003, the race got more serious with BSA Racing entering a Radical SR3 and a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Wolf Henzler as its lead driver, while Amprex Motorsport entered the BMW M3 GT for Charles Kwan, Matthew Marsh and Genji Hashimoto. Alex Yoong was also back with Jaseri Racing. But in the end unfancied G1-Meritus won the race after outlasting its rivals, with Eric Yeo, Firhat Mohkzani and Chin Tzer-Jinn driving their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car serenely to victory after completing 268 laps.
In 2004, Amprex Motorsport, armed with the latest ACO/FIA GT1 spec Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT racer, totally dominated proceedings as its drivers set laps of 2:09s around the circuit. But the car broke down and Honda Malaysia Racing Team, with Eddie Lew, Farriz Fauzy and Super GT driver Hiroki Katoh, took the top step of the podium, despite running in class A.
The 2005 edition was dominated by a joint effort between Amprex Motorsport and Proton R3 Racing, together they operated the team and their Lotus Exige 300RR won outright, completing 279 laps.
In 2006, Amprex Motorsport decided to bring back the Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT for the race but it was crippled in a practice accident, allowing Proton R3 Racing's Lotus Exige 300RR a clear run to victory number 2, completing 271 laps in the process. Faidzil Alang, Australian Damien French and Tengku Djan Ley shared the driving duties.
The 2007 race has been made more interesting with more participation from foreign teams racing teams, namely J's Racing Lab with a Honda S2000 and Juniper Racing with a 911 GT3 RSR. Famous racing drivers such as former F1 and 24 Hours of Le Mans driver Hans-Joachim Stuck also participated in the race. Year 2007 also record the highest participation so far with 103 cars signing up for the race but only 77 makes it to the starting grid in accordance to the FIA circuit license granted to Sepang International Circuit.
The race was renamed the Sepang 12 Hours in 2014, and in 2015 was run under the organisation of international sportscar racing authority the Stephane Ratel Organisation.
The race in 2017 was cancelled due to a lack of entries, and has not been held since.
|2000||Proton EON Racing Team|| Jimmy Low
|2001||Team TVR|| Jeffrey Wong
|2002||Jaseri Racing|| Nigel Albon
|Porsche 911 GT3 Cup||262|
|2003||G1 Meritus|| Eric Yeo
|Porsche 911 GT3 Cup||268|
|2004||Honda Malaysia Racing Team|| Eddie Lew
|Honda Civic 2.0 i-VTEC||265|
|2005||Proton R3 Amprex|| Tengku Djan Ley
|Lotus Exige 300RR||279|
|2006||Proton R3 Team|| Tengku Djan Ley
|Lotus Exige 300RR||271|
|2007||Team Hong Leong-Kencana Racing|| Mokhzani Mahathir
Lars Erik Nielsen
|Porsche 911 GT3 RSR||288|
|2008||Team Porsche Club Singapore|| Alex Davison
Weng Sun Mok
|Porsche 997 RSR||308|
|2009||Petronas Syntium Team|| Tatsuya Kataoka
|BMW Z4M Coupe||306|
|2010||Arrows Racing|| Tunku Hammam
|2011||Petronas Syntium Team|| Nobuteru Taniguchi
|Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3||321|
|2012||Petronas Syntium Team|| Nobuteru Taniguchi
|Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3||319|
|2013||Clearwater Racing|| Craig Baird
Weng Sun Mok
|Ferrari 458 Italia GT3||323|
|2014||Clearwater Racing|| Gianmaria Bruni
Weng Sun Mok
|Ferrari 458 Italia GT3||325|
|2015||Belgian Audi Club Team WRT|| Stuart Leonard
|Audi R8 LMS||228|
|2016||Audi Sport Team Phoenix|| Christopher Haase
|Audi R8 LMS||305|
|2017||Race Cancelled |
Multiple race winners
|Weng Sun Mok|
|2||Tengku Djan Ley|
|Tunku Hammam Sulong|
- Tommy Lee is the only driver to have won the Open class three times. He raced for three different teams for the wins: PERT, TVR and Jaseri Racing.
- The Honda Malaysia Racing Team (HMRT) has won class A five times in a row from 2003 to 2007, it also won the race overall in 2004.
- Malaysia racing wonder kid Jazeman Jaafar had become the youngest participant of MMER in 2007 at the age of 14.
- Team Porsche Club Singapore became the first foreign team to win the Merdeka Millennium Endurance in 2008.
- "BSA racing debut at MME". radicalextremesportscars.com. 30 August 2003. Archived from the original on 6 December 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2008.
- "Porsche Club Singapore Wins Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race". Sepang International Circuit. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
- "Sepang 12 Hours Race 2015". Sepang International Circuit. Archived from the original on 3 February 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Sports, N. S. T. (2017-11-04). "End of the road for Sepang 12 Hours race". NST Online. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
- "SRO chooses to cancel 2017 Motul Sepang 12 Hours". 3 November 2017.
- "Rising to "The Challenge Within" won Class A Championship title for the 5th consecutive year in MME". Honda Malaysia. Retrieved 18 January 2016.