Design of Singapore's new circuit has competitors itching to get started
Amid the scaffolding, construction trucks and a lot of dirt, Matthew Marsh was intrigued. The reason for the heightened emotions? The design of the 5.06km Marina Bay street circuit, site of September's Singapore Grand Prix and Formula One's inaugural night race.
The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia will be one of the supporting races, meaning Marsh, Darryl O'Young and Marchy Lee Ying-kin - all Hong Kong drivers in the Carrera Cup Asia - will also race on the circuit that runs along Raffles Boulevard, the Anderson Bridge and through a grandstand along the sea.
'When they said you drive through the grandstand, I thought I had misunderstood the concept,' said Marsh, as he stood on part of the eventual track that will pass by the grandstand before going back underneath it. 'The fact is, going through the grandstand is unique, it's daring, it's brilliant.'
O'Young added that he felt it was a great idea for spectators.
'Singapore looks beautiful, I think it's going to be a fantastic circuit,' O'Young said.
However, he wasn't entirely convinced at the brilliance of the cars going underneath the grandstand, saying that 'it's going to be the same as going through a tunnel or something like that, which is normal.'
In creating the circuit, organisers have had to build 1.2km of new road in just 18 months. The limitations of the structures and streets have been challenging.
'When a city designs a track using its streets, it's very much restricted by what's there already,' Marsh said. 'What I've seen of Singapore, so far, is it has a natural rhythm to it.' Anticipating the experience as 'something else', Marsh described the design as a means to highlight Singapore.
'It's going to be so exciting to sit in a racing car and drive near tree-lined roads, out to the middle of the city, past the war memorial and back along the sea front,' Marsh said.
Both O'Young and Marsh said they enjoyed street circuits and made comparisons to Monaco and Macau, with O'Young preferring the European track, while Marsh said he liked the flow of the Guia circuit better.
'Monaco is the most famous street circuit in the world, it's not actually that good,' Marsh said. 'There are a couple of places which are quite exciting, [but] in Macau, the whole circuit is just happening. I get the feeling Singapore is going to have that similar feel, a critical high-speed flow.'
Going the distance
The length, in kilometres, of the track being prepared for the Singapore Grand Prix: 5.06