Lion City is wired and ready to flick the big switch

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 July, 2008, 12:00am

A state-of-the-art lighting system, four times as powerful as a typical sports stadium, will give Lewis Hamilton and company the feeling they are driving in daylight.

The 5.067km track will be fitted with nearly 1,500 lighting projectors and powered by 12 twin-power generators. The 24 generators will be fitted in 'special protected areas' and will power, in addition to the lights, the PA system and the track's monitoring equipment.

An overall average of about 3,000 lux levels - the measure of the intensity of light - is required to illuminate the circuit, which is enough to meet high-definition television broadcast standards. As a result, the track will be almost four times brighter than a typical stadium, says its creator, Valerio Maioli.

'It seemed a daunting task at first, given the set of challenges we had to address,' says Italian-based Maioli, who specialises in the engineering of lighting and telecommunication systems. 'The solution we developed was a custom, bespoke, state-of-the-art lighting system that delivers optimal visibility for night-race conditions and meets the safety standards of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile [FIA]. I am extremely excited and honoured to be a part of history in the making.'

Approval for the night race was only granted by FIA after the system was tested at the Paul Ricard facility in Le Castellet, France. It took 15 days to install and two nights to trial. A GP2 car was used and the system passed with flying colours, said Singapore GP executive director Michael Roche.

'A night race on a street circuit comes with its own set of challenges,' Roche said. 'Firstly, the track is not a permanent circuit so the lighting needs to be set up each year. Secondly, it is impossible to put cables in the underground ducts. And thirdly, Singapore is known as a garden city and there are many trees along the roads. To prevent any unnecessary uprooting of the trees the height of the lights are set up lower than the tree canopy lining parts of the circuit.'

Roche said the most significant challenge was to ensure consistent lighting around the track, both for the safety of drivers and also to ensure the images will be of the best quality to meet high-definition television.

'The solution was therefore to develop a custom-designed lighting system that essentially creates 'almost' daylight conditions for the drivers and minimises glare and reflections should the track be wet,' Roche said. 'We have taken all weather conditions into consideration when designing the track and we're confident of delivering a safe as well as visually exciting race.'