Street circuit to provide historic night-time thrills for F1 fans

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 August, 2007, 12:00am

Plans are under way for Singapore to light up in the second half of next year, literally, when the city is expected to become the first in Formula One history to host a night-time race. The announcement followed confirmation in May that Singapore would host a round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship for at least five years.

The deal was brokered between Formula One Management chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, Singapore entrepreneur Ong Beng Seng, and the Singapore Tourism Board.

'I am very pleased to welcome Singapore to the Formula One family and we look forward to this exotic addition to the championship,' Mr Ecclestone said.

'As a night race, we anticipate it will quickly establish itself as one of the most dramatic and atmospheric races on our calendar.'

The event will be held on a new 5.2km street circuit, on public roads around the Marina Bay area. To cater for a safe night race, which involves many issues still to be worked out, the aim is to include powerful lighting systems that will replicate daylight conditions.

Grandstand seating and hospitality areas lining the track will be able to accommodate more than 80,000 spectators, and a permanent pit area with paddock facilities will be built adjacent to the existing Singapore Flyer complex.

Singapore is not new to the concept of hosting motor racing. The affluent city-state was introduced to speed in 1962, when an event known as the Malaysian Grand Prix was hosted on a street circuit. The race became known as the Singapore Grand Prix after Singapore obtained independence in 1965.

The event was cancelled following a fatal crash in the 1972 race due to growing concerns over an increase in traffic and issues involved with closing public roads for the race.

Singapore has high hopes for the event next year, which is expected to take place sometime in September or October. Tourism generated from hosting the race will be of great benefit to the local economy.