Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been lauded as an event that will herald a new era in world motor racing.
That bold remark came courtesy of His Excellency Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, who is clearly not a man prone to understatement.
The founding chairman of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management launched the vision of his organisation and country ahead of next year's season-ending debut on the Formula One calendar.
ADMM are not just in the process of building another new circuit, but an entire infrastructure on one of the many islands that make up the Middle East state.
Yas Island is being turned into a statement of intent for the United Arab Emirates as a whole, with the 3.4-mile, 21-turn anti-clockwise track at its heart.
The Yas Marina Circuit can be split into two smaller tracks of 1.9 and 1.46 miles, whilst other racing facilities include a 0.75-mile world championship-standard karting centre and a dragstrip.
For the first time anywhere in the world, the 50,000-seater grandstands will be entirely covered.
And because of the environmentally-conscious drive in Formula One these days, many of the facilities will be solar-powered.
Away from the track there will be hotels, theme parks - including one specifically dedicated to Ferrari - a shopping mall, the marina itself and a yacht club.
The piece de resistance, however, is the 500-room hotel that will straddle the track, affording those lucky enough to stay there an unparalleled view of the race.
Al Mubarak is convinced the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will eclipse those currently on the calendar, including Monaco, and most recently the spectacular event in Singapore.

The Singapore Grand Prix was incredible. They did an absolutely fantastic job, and the first night race was something special," said Al Mubarak.
"The track, the visual impact of the city, the organisation, for everybody that was there it was fantastic, and we look at it as a challenge.
They have done what we are looking forward to doing next year - setting a new benchmark - and we will do that. There is no question in my mind that this is a track that will set that benchmark in motor-sport racing. It will be the future of motor racing, and we will be the cutting edge in everything we do in the sport.
Like everything that Abu Dhabi does, we are going to do it right, it is going to be unique, it will set a new standard, and it will be long-term. That is what we are doing with the 2009 grand prix, and with the relationship we will have with Formula One.
It is the start of what I feel will be a new era in racing, not just for the region, but for the world."
Despite the many millions of pounds being lavished on the facility - which has in place an initial seven-year race contract with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone - Al Mubarak insists it will be money well spent.

The entire island makes sense and is an integrated development," added Al Mubarak.
You don't invest what we are nvesting in this island without being cost conscious and efficient.
But I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this event for the country and the UAE.
This is the epitome of sports, and being part of it, launching it next year for the country and putting Abu Dhabi out there for the global audience, is absolutely tremendous.
It is like having the World Cup or the Olympics every year. It takes a lot of preparation, hard work, but we are going to be ready.
We are going to deliver to the world a statement in terms of how we can organise world-class events, delivering a standard that will make the world happy to come, to watch and enjoy.

There has been talk of the race being staged at night, and it would be unsurprising given the hotel at the centre has an exterior outer layer made up of 4,800 LED panels allowing it to change colour.

Al Mubarak refused to drawn on a race start time, but he is adamant the track design - which has received input from current and former drivers - will serve up a thrilling spectacle of a race.
It has made a difference that we are building the track from scratch which has alowed a lot more creativity and flexibility in terms of how we designed it," said Al Mubarak.
I expect it to be a very fast track, a very competitive track with significantly more opportunities for overtaking than many of the tracks we have today."

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