Indonesia’s Mandalika Circuit: Racing to end the 26-year wait

The Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has completed the paving of the main track of the Special Road Area (JKK) of the 4.31-kilometer Mandalika Circuit in Central Lombok District, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Province. The completion of the work was marked by a ceremony held at corners 2 and 3 of the Mandalika International Street Circuit on Sunday (August 15, 2021).

Photo Credit: ANTARA FOTO/Ahmad Subaidi

The ceremony was attended by NTB Governor Zulkieflimansyah and members of his administration, Assistant Deputy of Tourism & Creative Economy, Minitstry of Maritime Affairs & Investment Sartin Hia, ITDC Director Abdulbar M Mansoer and ITDC boardmembers, Director of Infrastructure at PT PP Yul Ari Pramuraharjo, Head of Central Lombok District Lalu Pathul Bahri, and Director of Construction & Development at MGPA Dwianto Eko Winaryo.

The completion of asphalting construction marked the Mandalika Circuit’s readiness to host the international FIM Superbike World Championship (WSBK) from November 12-14, 2021, officials said.

Advantage Mandalika
Director of construction and development of the Mandalika Grand Prix Association (MGPA), Dwianto Eko Winaryo, revealed that the newest Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA), said to be the best in the world, was used for the Mandalika International Circuit, giving it an edge over even Malaysia’s Sepang Circuit.

“Not all circuits in the world use this type of asphalt. Because the product was only released in 2015. Several circuits with SMA are Silverstone, Dubai, and Philip Island. Not even Sepang (has used SMA) because it was built in 2012,” he informed during Sunday’s ceremony.

SMA is an asphalt mixture that is used to coat the top surface of the asphalt, Winaryo explained. The asphalt layer is intended to strengthen the structure of the surface layer of the track so that it remains strong through stone-by-stone contact, he added.

“This type of asphalt has a high penetration power or Penetration Grade (PG) 82. And this PG 82 was only released in 2014-2015, so not all circuits in the world use this kind of asphalt,” said Wiaryo. “There are a number of advantages of using SMA. One advantage is that the track remains non-slippery when there is rain. This reduces the risk of accidents during rains.

To support the asphalting progress using SMA, the MGPA brought in coarse aggregate Tau stone from Palu, Central Sulawesi – famous for its hardness. But for the underlay asphalt, we used stone from North Lombok and East Lombok. Seven thousand tons of Palu stone were transported in two stages for the asphalting.

“In addition, MGPA brought in cellulose fiber additives from Germany to glue the stone and asphalt. Meanwhile, the limestone filler was brought in from Ponorogo and Probolinggo, East Java” he said. “So, we brought the best in the world to the Mandalika circuit,” he emphasized.

A scenic view
Automotive expert Arief Kurniawan said if all its facilities are properly equipped, the Mandalika Circuit will become the new favorite track for racing. He believes that the Mandalika Circuit would be able to beat even the Sepang Circuit, Malaysia and Chang Circuit, Thailand, which have already hosted MotoPG events.

The Mandalika Circuit has a natural selling point with its location, he pointed out. “The circuit has a unique selling point, the location is in a special economic area, and the beach is also beautiful. Even though the access (to the) road is still difficult, but in the next four to five years the access will be easy, it takes a process,” Kurniawan stated.

“Surrounded by panoramic views of the hills and the sea on the southern coast of Lombok Island, the Mandalika International Street Circuit is set to later become the only roadway circuit in the MotoGP calendar,” he added. “The circuit’s paddock area can accommodate 40 garages, while the main tribune has a capacity of more than 50 thousand seats.

“While the standing tribune is designed to hold approximately 138 thousand people and hospitality suites are planned to accommodate 7,700 people. The paddock area, main tribune, standing tribune, and hospitality suites will not be permanent and can be dismantled when there is no racing, including the circuit track that can be converted into a highway,” he noted.

Fastest construction
Director of PT Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), Abdulbar M Mansoer, claimed the construction work of the main track in the Special Area Road (JKK) has been the fastest, ever. “Work on this circuit began on June 15, 2020 and finished by August 15, 2021, or one year and one month, and this is the fastest in the world. We want to finish the construction quickly since we aim to host the 2021 MotoGP,” Mansoer explained.

“The installation of concrete barriers and the construction of tunnels has been completed, which will serve as the audience’s access to the circuit area, the service area, the hotel, and other facilities in the track area. Overall, the construction work on the Mandalika International Street Circuit is around 92 percent complete, he said. Work is in progress on other supporting facilities, such as the race control and foundation pit building,” he added.

“Currently, we are preparing a medical center equipped with a helipad. The operation and procurement of medical equipment for medical facilities are supported by the Ministry of Health. Overall, the construction of the JKK has approached 92 percent,” Mansoer remarked.

The circuit is expected to be completed by September 12, 2021, or before the FIM Superbike World Championship (WSBK), an international motorcycle racing event, scheduled to be held from November 12-14, 2021. The Circuit’s homologation virtual assessment was conducted on August 12 this year and attended by representatives from Dorna Sport, the Indonesian Motor Association (IMI) and ITDC’s subsidiary, MGPA.

“The assessment was the world’s first virtual assessment of the circuit track and was carried out in a professional manner,” Mansoer remarked. “We are very grateful that during the virtual assessment, Dorna Sport expressed their positive feedback and confidence in the construction progress of the Mandalika Circuit.”

He said he was optimistic that the Mandalika Circuit can end Indonesia’s 26-year wait for hosting international motorcycle racing.

By Riza F, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution

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