Bahrain's Circuit Boss Does A Pitwalk
How often does the man responsible for the running of an international circuit make his way along the line of cars lined up for scrutineering chatting to drivers, mechanics, families and friends.

Not often!

dailysportscar.comThat, however, is exactly how the Director of the Bahrain International Circuit, Sheihk Fawwaz, spent a sizeable chunk of his Tuesday afternoon, admiring the cars and talking at length to many of those who have travelled thousands of miles to visit his facility.

As he stood on the pit wall to survey the scene I asked him whether he was impressed with the entry?

"There are some wonderful cars and teams here, I think we are in for a very special week."

The GT Festival though is part of a much wider and more significant future:

"Yes, this is really part of our plans to educate the Bahraini public about GT racing," elaborated the Sheikh. "They don't need to be told that the cars are fantastic, the appeal of these cars is that they are the sort of vehicle that everyone can relate to as something that they would love to own, but we do need to introduce them to the differences of racing this sort of car. This week is really an exhibition event. I hope that next year we can host an FIA GT Championship round here."

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With ticket prices at rock-bottom prices and event promotion at unprecedented (for European GT racing) levels was he expecting a sizeable crowd?

"I hope so but again we are trying to draw more people to this area of the sport. We have a facility that can show off these cars very well and we have time to achieve our goals."

Was he aware of the comparisons being drawn between his new venue and some of the more traditional F1 circuits?

"Of course, but my concern is doing the best that we can. We are very proud of what has been achieved here, the facility was built in just 15 months with 2000 workers and was finished early, whereas other new facilities (Shanghai) used far more manpower and were completed late. I believe we have a wonderful advertisement for Bahrain here and I am working hard now to bring more events to us."

The efforts of his team extend beyond the attention to detail in the preparation of the track and the self-evident event promotion, The Sheikh is deadly serious about building the audience, and no project that will help to achieve that goal is considered too small:

"As an example, the track cleaning machine which we have just bought from Germany is due to be repainted and we have asked our local schoolchildren to suggest how we should paint it."

This is a venue, and a management attitude that should delight motorsport lovers and send chills through those who seek to compete.

If only it were a few hours closer to home!!
GG

 

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