Singapore revs up: Lion City in pole position as destination for racegoers and festival lovers
The Grand Prix weekend at the Marina Bay Circuit promises visitors some of the best in Formula One racing, and a host of big-name entertainers, including Halsey, Kylie Minogue and Queen
Asia’s most anticipated sporting and entertainment extravaganza is on track to take place from September 16 to 18. The 2016 Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix will feature some of the world’s best drivers and give fans added entertainment, with special shows during the three-day event.
Record crowds of more than 86,000 attended each day last year, including many from
Its popularity is not difficult to fathom. The world’s best drivers navigate the winding circuit of city streets at speeds of up to 320km/h around Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay.
In addition, the event includes the world’s only night race in the Formula One calendar.
Adding to the main event are three official support races – the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific, returning for the first time since 2012; the TCR International Series; and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia.
The Formula One organisers have added a few new teams and implemented some changes to the event this year, much to the fans’ delight.
To encourage closer racing and increased excitement factor for fans, racers must now make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not deliberately leave the track without a justifiable reason.
Drivers and technicians consider the track to be rather challenging, with its 23 tight corners and no room for error. “The track is really impressive with some technical parts and some classic street circuit ‘90-degree’ turns,” says Formula One driver Romain Grosjean, who races for the Haas F1 Team and who is ranked 11th in the Formula One World Championship.
“There are a few decent straights, but it is mainly busy, busy, busy for us, with corner
Paddy Lowe, executive director (technical), Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, shares the sentiment.
“It’s a challenging race, particularly on the brakes.”
The circuit sees a large number of braking areas and it’s also a bumpy track, with heavy use of the kerbs making it tough on the car. “The layout makes overtaking a difficult task, often resulting in action-packed races, with unsuccessful passing attempts leaving debris on the track and resulting in frequent safety car appearances,” he adds.
The Grand Prix is not just about fast cars and tricky turns. To add to the festive mood, the organisers also arranged for a series of concerts, featuring well-known international artists, who are performing on Singapore’s largest outdoor entertainment stage. Kicking off the entertainment are KC and The Sunshine Band, and Kylie Minogue, both performing on Friday, with the former also playing on Saturday.
Other performers over the weekend include Bastille, Queen – fronted by Adam Lambert – Pentatonix, Halsey, and Imagine Dragons.
The Grand Prix coincides with the Mid-Autumn long weekend – another incentive for Hongkongers to visit Singapore this September. Travel operators, such as Swire Travel and Singapore Airlines Holidays, are offering comprehensive travel packages that include flights, Grand Prix tickets, and accommodation at the city’s leading hotels.
Visitors who want to add some sightseeing to their weekend can expect a myriad of choices. For example, there is Singapore’s newest art hub, the National Gallery Singapore, which is home to the world’s largest display of modern Southeast Asian art in the region. The Singapore International Festival of Arts is another option, with final performances occurring on September 17.
Thrill seekers can opt to experience indoor skydiving at the world’s first and largest wind tunnel, where you can experience wind speeds of up to 300km/hour at iFly Singapore.
There is also the quirky The Arts House located in Singapore’s oldest colonial building and its first parliament. For a more cultural submersion, a multidisciplinary arts and performance centre, combined with interesting dining/entertainment options, including live music and pizza alfresco, can be found at Timbre.
The Barber Shop is another hot spot often frequented by visitors for its Singapore soul, blues, funk and jazz bands, with a fine-dining restaurant and a cafe.
For shopping options, other than the famous Orchard Road for branded and luxury goods, there is Haji Lane in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood.
The area is home to curious boutiques selling unique products from around the world to stores featuring local and up-and-coming designers.
Or make a trip to the Tiong Bahru district, a happening neighbourhood defined by its charming art-deco shophouses, which is home to trendy food and lifestyle establishments.
For other ideas, the Singapore Tourism Board’s YourSingapore website is a good resource, as is The Honeycombers (Singapore). The 2016 Formula One Singapore Grand Prix offers a range of tickets with price tags between S$298 (HK$1,710) and S$1,288. For more Grand Prix and tickets information visit www.singaporegp.sg.