It’s the first night race in F1 history. The first F1 street race in Asia. Not surprising excitement has been reaching fever pitch in Singapore these past few weeks as the city state readies for the mega event.
Today, September 28 is D-Day as the F1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix is worked off on a 5.067 km circuit in Singapore’s scenic Marina Bay area.
The race will be run in an anti-clockwise direction on a circuit that consists of 10 right hand turns and 14 left hand turns, posing a challenge for drivers as will the floodlights, reportedly four times brighter than at a football match.
The Singapore race is the 15th leg of the 2008 F1 calendar and competition is expected to be stiff among the ten teams taking part with the focus being on the leading contenders McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa and Red Bull’s Mark Webber.
The course is routed past city landmarks like the Raffles Hotel, City Hall, the Esplanade and the Singapore Flyer. Vantage points and grandstand seats have been snapped up weeks ahead. All tickets for the glass capsuled Singapore Flyer, the giant observation wheel which overlooks the F1 track were sold out early and visitors will be treated to a champagne flight as they watch the action from their birds’ eye view 165 m up in the sky with live feeds on TV from the track for those wanting a closer view.
The event estimated to cost around US $ 150 million is being partly funded by the Singapore
government and authorities were hoping the high-profile race will help boost tourism to the country. With almost 99 % of tickets sold before the final weekend and some 40,000 tourists arriving for the event, their expectations are certain to be fulfilled. The race has drawn GP enthusiasts and tourists alike with volunteers coming in from many countries to help out.
Off the track too there’s plenty to keep fans busy with many events being lined up - the Singapore River festival with music, magic shows and boat parades, the exhibition of monumental sculptures on Orchard Road and the Singapore River by big names such as Fernando Botero, Arman Fernandez, Robert Combas and Jean Dubuffet and the Singapore Beer Festival at Fort Canning Park - an incentive for visitors to stay on after the F1 excitement. (RS)