The Singapore Grand Prix awaits
- Andy Leuterio (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2013 - 12:00am

I confess I’m not the biggest Formula One fan these days. My interest pretty much waned in the last year that Michael Schumacher clinched the championship. The rules changes, the intrigue, the technological advances… every year there’s something new to talk about that it’s tough to get back in the loop if you haven’t been up to date for some time.

Which is not to say that I’m not looking forward to the Singapore Grand Prix, happening this September 20 to 22. I first got to watch the SGP two years ago and was honestly blown away by the spectacle. Apart from being the only night race in the series, it’s also one of the few held on city streets, giving it a sense of connectedness with fans that track-bound races don’t have. On race weekend, due to the many road closures being used for the “track”, you’ll have to get around using a network of tunnels and overpasses while the race cars zoom past at hair-raising speeds. While you’re shopping in the mall, it’s not uncommon to hear the shriek of an F1 car blowing past the building. If you book a room with a prized view of the track, you can actually enjoy the race from the comfort of your balcony as the air is filled with the sound of engines and the sweet smell of burnt rubber. Of course, that wouldn’t be as much fun as actually getting a grandstand seat and taking a walk along Pit Lane to see the cars up close. If you’re lucky you’ll even see a Hollywood star or two.

Watching the race itself, it’s amazing how engineers were able to light up the circuit so well that it might as well have been daytime. Of course, this also means that it’s quite warm, but no one really complains. Except perhaps for the drivers, who can lose up to 3 kilos of fluids in a two-hour race. But that’s their job.

Apart from the race itself, the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix will host a number of performances including Rihanna, The Killers, Korean superstar band BIGBANG, and the DHOL Foundation. A closing concert will feature Justin Bieber and Owl City, if you’re into that kind of entertainment. There will also be races for the GP2 Series and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. And because it’s race weekend, tourists can count on nice places to spend their money like the parties at Marina Bay, Zouk, and Amber Lounge, shopping deals at Rev Up @ Orchard, and the nightlife along the Singapore River. Don’t forget to bring home some F1 souvenirs at the many kiosks along the circuit.

Just some Singapore Race Stats

• The street circuit is 5.073km long

• The highest recorded top speed was 298 km/h

• The Circuit Park land area is 799,000 square meters or equivalent to 80 soccer fields

• 24 superscreens will be situated around the circuit

• In 2012 there were 1,107 volunteer race marshals, an estimated 10,000 hospitality guests, and another 50,000 spectators at the Padang stage concert on race day

• All the equipment to be brought in by the teams via air and sea freight is estimated at 800,000 tons

• Because of the track’s technical nature, drivers change gears at least 80 times per lap, or 50 percent higher than the season average.

• The race is 61 laps, but with a 2-hour time limit the race ended last year at 59 laps with Sebastian Vettel winning for the second time.

If you’re looking to get into this motorsports festival next month, you’d better hurry up because tickets sell very quickly at this event. You can inquire about F1 packages through Red Rock Travel on their Facebook page (Red Rock Travel Ph) or or just call at 433-4245, 738-6614, 0917-8923516.


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