Greatest showdown

Bahrain International Circuit welcomes the second race of the 2018 Formula One season this month. Claire Bloomfield visited “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East” to find out more about F1’s favourite night race…

Bahrain will take the Formula One spotlight from April 6-8, 2018, when the likes of four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo roar into town for the Formula 1 2018 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 2017 edition attracted a record crowd of 33,000 on race day alone – and as the popularity of motorsport in the region, spearheaded by the Bahrain race, reaches an all-time high, it’s likely there will be an even bigger turnout for this year’s 57-lap battle.

Circuit

Bahrain International Circuit comprises of no fewer than five individual tracks, four of which can be used simultaneously, along with one drag strip. The inner and outer tracks are configured to form the Formula One circuit and allow unparalleled viewing from the Grandstands and the VIP tower. If you want a spot in the thick of the drama on the opening corner, you should opt for seats in the grandstand at Turn 1.

The 169-hectare site, boasts dedicated buildings for 18 racing teams, hospitality suites, a medical centre constructed and equipped to stringent FIA Medical Commission and international racing standards and a vast media centre for 500 journalists.

In addition to an extensive family entertainment programme throughout race weekend, one of the biggest attractions off the track at this year’s Grand Prix will be the live performance of Afro-Latin rock fusion artist Carlos Santana, who is bringing his celebrated Divination Tour to the event.

Where to stay

The super-luxe The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain in Manama, a secluded property, is not only about what one can see, but there is plenty to admire. Set along the bay in Seef, with a private lagoon and island, plus 11 unique dining venues offering cuisine from Italy to Mexico, it’s not difficult to find why this property is a popular choice.

Another preferred choice for patrons is Sofitel Bahrain. Another 5-star luxury property infused with French elegance, occupies a prime location on Zallaq Beach. Its 262 luxurious rooms and suites boast balconies and exquisite views of the Arabian Gulf.

More racing action

Even though Formula One remains the leading attraction at Bahrain International Circuit, there will be a host of exciting racing action throughout the weekend, including the FIA Formula Two Championship and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. F2 is widely perceived to be the chief feeder series to F1 and continues to play a significant role in fine tuning a drivers’ skills in preparation for rubbing shoulders on the grid with racing’s elite.

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East has provided some thrilling results ever since its inaugural season in 2009/2010 and provides the Arab world’s most promising drivers the chance to sample world leading circuits whilst racing in identically constructed cars.

Photos: Bahrain International Circuit

 

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