Warburton out for V8s Asian domination

As the 2015 V8 Supercars championship enters its endurance phase, the sport’s chief is thinking about long hauls.

Chief executive James Warburton says locking in a Malaysian race for next year’s calendar is just part one of the sport’s expansion into Asia.

Expansion outside Australia and New Zealand is nothing new for the sport, having raced overseas in China, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and most recently in 2013, the United States.

It’s now countries to Australia’s north that interest Warburton, and the possibility for a Supercars meet seems to be interesting promoters there as well.

“Nine different locations that are talking to us,” Warburton told Inside Supercars.

“When people see us in Asia, we have a lot of approaches from promoters.

“We’ll have two events in Asia without a shadow of a doubt by 2017.”

The Kuala Lumpur street race was confirmed in the 2016 calendar on Tuesday, and will be staged on 13-14 August next year.

Five drivers, led by veteran champ Craig Lowndes, conducted a test event in the sprawling Malaysian metropolis last month, with Warburton delighted at his estimated 200,000-strong turnout.

“A lot of them knew nothing about V8 Supercars and by the end of the weekend, (the drivers) were absolute superstars,” he said.

“The appetite for us to go back with a full field was always going to be there.

“It’s important for us to get offshore again, get into markets that are friendly for our fans with the two hour time difference.”

On Friday, the championship resumes at Sandown for the first Enduro Cup race of the season.

Prodrive Racing pair Mark Winterbottom (1915 points) and Chaz Mostert (1741) lead the title race, with four-time reigning champ Jamie Whincup languishing in sixth place (1466).

Sunday’s race will see Whincup and co-driver Paul Dumbrell will defend their title won last year from pole position.

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