Bahrain International Circuit Ready for New Season
Manama, 23rd February 2006; The Bahrain International Circuit is unique in the Middle East. It is the only motorsport venue built from the ground up to the exacting standards required to host a modern Formula One event with the infrastructure required to support it. The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is the jewel in the crown of all motor sport in the region, from which a thriving motor sport industry has grown in Bahrain and in order to deliver to the needs of its events the venue is in a continuous process of growth and renewal.
Bahrain International Circuit was memorably created in just 16 months as the most modern, user-friendly venue in the FIA Formula One World Championship calendar. After 23 months and two Grands Prix the circuit continues to build on these foundations, with a raft of improvements in place for the 2006 season, beginning with the 2006 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
Much of the work carried out since the 2005 Grand Prix will go unseen, but the benefits will be felt by all those visiting and working at the circuit. In the Media Centre, for instance, additional microphones have been installed and a movie projector. Also a new wireless microphone system means that the same microphone can broadcast to the Media Centre from anywhere in the Paddock.
Within Race Control the already state-of-the-art camera system has been further upgraded. With six different circuit configurations, of which two can be used concurrently, it will now be possible to monitor each track individually through the installation of 41 computer-controlled cameras that can be configured to each corner at the touch of a button.
This is particularly useful for the Inner Circuit, which is the busiest through the course of the year with domestic race meetings and corporate events. The new camera system will be put through its paces over the Grand Prix weekend when the Porsche Michelin Supercup cars perform their inaugural night race demonstration on the Inner Circuit through the evening of Friday March 10 amid the rest of the Grand Prix activities.
Also in use over the Grand Prix weekend will be the fully FIA-compliant Drag Strip, where Dragster demonstration runs will be taking place each day. The required gravel beds and run-off area together with the FIA-specification timing system means that Top Fuel Dragsters, as will be seen at the Grand Prix, can join the popular Drag events on the BIC calendar.
Elsewhere the additional FIA-specification barriers are now in place for the longest of the circuit configurations, adding another 1km to the length of the Grand Prix circuit for use with events requiring a higher number of entries. This section of track, unused over the Grand Prix, is of course fully 'plumbed-in' to the Race Control camera system.
For racegoers attending the Bahrain International Circuit there are two additional benefits: a bespoke structure in which to house the giant screen on top of the pit complex and, for VIP guests in the Sakhir Tower, individual audio/visual systems on each floor.
Away from the smooth, clean asphalt of the circuit, the challenging courses of Adventure Drive Arabia, the first purpose-built 4x4 driving centre in the Gulf, is now complete with the construction of the Hummer Steps and Rocky Road sections. Further expansion of the quad bike and Apache buggy activities mean that there are now three separate courses for off-road thrills too.
The fleet of Hummers operated by Adventure Drive Arabia joins the Bahrain International Circuit's impressive arsenal of vehicles. The arrival of 20 Chevrolet V8 SS Luminas, making their debut in the Grand Prix-supporting Pro-Celebrity Race, adds to the Mini Coopers, Caterhams, Formula BMWs and Thunder Arabia cars already on the fleet and has required additional workshop space to be created, together with new storage areas under the main grandstand for the circuit's growing collection of equipment.
Bahrain joined the elite group of nations at the pinnacle of world motor sport with a facility that was the envy of the world. Clearly it is determined not to rest on its laurels.