Saturday, March 27, 2010

Changi all set to roar in 2012

SG Changi in negotiations to bring MotoGP to the Republic


It is widely regarded as the most prestigious race for motorbikes and has a huge following around the world.Singapore has its fair share of MotoGP fans, who are keeping their fingers crossed that one leg of the series will hit Singapore shores from 2012.
Singapore Agro Agricultural Pte Ltd's proposal to design, build, finance and run the Changi Motorsports Hub included a promise to bring the race here.

On Friday, their dream lay in tatters, after the Singapore Sports Council named SG Changi Private Limited the winners in the bid to build the Republic's first permanent racing track. But MotoGP fans here can still look forward to catching the likes of multiple world champion Valentino Rossi in action at the $330 million facility.
SG Changi director Eddie Koh told MediaCorp of the consortium's plans to bring in top-flight races. "The completion date is slated for the end of 2011, and we hope to start events in 2012 ... We have the intention to bring in a couple of international races like the GT events, and MotoGP," said Koh, who is one of four directors heading the group, which is fronted by Jurong Kart World and Japanese investors. When contacted, MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta of Dorna Sports was non-commital, only saying: "I need to see the official answer first (on the winning bid) before I sign an agreement with them."But Thia insisted his fellow director, Genji Hashimoto, had been in touch with Dorna Sports, and said: "We're definitely trying to bring in MotoGP."
Located on a 41-hectare site near Changi Airport, the facility will feature a 4km FIM Grade 1 and FIA Grade 2 certified race track, a 20,000-seater sheltered grandstand, karting track, a quarter-mile drag racing track, motor museum and 35,000 square metres of commercial space for food, entertainment and merchandising outlets.
Adjustments have been made to the original plan of a 3.7km track, to accommodate the FIM's requirements for MotoGP races.Three consortiums, Singapore Agro Agricultural, SG Changi and Sports Services Ltd, submitted their bids to the SSC on Aug 27 last year. D
r Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), called the project a "landmark in development", after the Republic's hosting of the world's inaugural Formula 1 night race in 2008."The Formula 1 race is the crown jewel of Singapore sports, and we view that as step 1 ... We need to go further than that, and that's why we conceived the idea of building our own motosports hub," he said at the press conference on Friday."We've chosen this particular group because of their design, functionality, financial strength, and also their commitment to bring in high-level programming and events."

SG Changi's proposed calendar of events include Japan's popular SuperGT Series, D1 Grand Prix, Formula Nippon, Asia Festival of Speed Series, and local events like the Singapore National Championship, Karting Championship and Drifting Championship. Training and education will also be part of Changi Motorsports Hub, with reputable training provider E-Rain Racing Academy of Korea set to be housed on site.
German sponsorship and marketing company, Norman, will work to bring in renowned racing academies from Europe.
Concerns over the project's completion date were raised, after the SSC decided to expand the site from 20 hectares to 41 hectares.But Dr Balakrishnan said: "Although it's a significant investment, I think it's still of a size which can be executed fairly rapidly, and I'm hoping there will be no undue delays."We will now help facilitate all their approvals for building permits and the rest of it."Because they have a 30-year lease, it is in their interest to build quickly and to start recouping their investments."

by Low Lin Fhoong

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