not sure about the reach... but using fast shutter speed (1/80 at least for 80mm, 1/400 at least for 400mm to avoid handshakes), u can freeze those racing cars. ideally your camera fps should be fast enough... as most probably u need to do burst shoots then get some good shots from there.
The focusing speed is quite slow even on my D700 & I sold it without ever using. But you should get yourself to the corners to find the best angles & cars slow down over there. 200-400mm should be enough & yes, panning!
Nearest lodgings should be @ the airports either the international or LCCT. It usually takes me about 30mins from Kl city to Sepang track if you use the Putra highway to cut across.