NOVEMBER 1, 2007

Singapore's racing vision

The Singapore government does not do things by halves. Having agreed to stage a night time Formula 1 street race, it has now decided to build a permanent circuit as well to help boost the country's motor sports industry.

"The government has identified the motor sports industry as a growth industry that will contribute to sports development and the economy in Singapore," says Vivian Balakrishnan, the minister for community development, youth and sports. "In our discussions with the private sector, industry players shared that the development of a permanent racetrack is critical for us to develop a comprehensive motor sports industry."

The government has requested design tenders for a track to be built at Changi. The winner bidder would be required to host a minimum of three international races and two national series each year. The facility will be fully funded by the private sector but the bidder will pay the government price for the land. The facility would be a Grade 2 track - not good enough for F1 - and there would be a deal for 30 years. Other facilities will include a racing and driver training school and a top level karting track. The circuit will be built on land by the sea close to Changi Airport.

Balakrishnan also announced a cross-government agency working group, led by the Singapore Sports Council, to develop a comprehensive motorsports industry development plan.

While all this is happening in Asia, Silverstone continues to struggle on and has just announced plans to host the next official FAI World Aerobatic Championship in 2009. Flying Aces, the air sports rights management company, in partnership with the British Aerobatic Association, was awarded the rights to the event by the FAI, the air sports federation.