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  Channel NewsAsia 26 Oct 07
Govt calls for proposals to build permanent race track in Changi

Business Times 27 Oct 07
Permanent race track to be built at Changi
By Vincent Wee

Straits Times 27 Oct 07
Motorsports to get permanent Changi racetrack
At least three international races will be held each year; industry has sporting and economic growth potential
By Leonard Lim

SINGAPORE'S motorsports industry is set to shift into high gear.

After months of speculation, the Government yesterday announced plans to call for design tenders for a permanent racetrack in Changi. With the winning bidder required to host at least three international races annually, enthusiasts - already high from Formula One fever - will be spoilt for choice come the facility's completion in 2011.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, said the move was made after the motorsports industry was identified to have both sporting and economic growth potential.

'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 motorsports industry,' he said after touring the 20ha site next to the Singapore Airshow grounds.

A request for proposals is likely to be made next May, with the tender and bidding process expected to take about half a year. Five to eight local groups have expressed interest, and Dr Balakrishnan said he expects strong interest with a formal announcement.

The facility will be fully funded by the private sector, but the successful bidder will pay the government market price for the land. The Grade 2 facility, which will have a tenure of 30 years, could host any race except F1.

To ensure the track remains commercially viable, the successful bidder must stage at least three international races, such as the A1 Grand Prix, Japan GP and motorcycling's MotoGP, every year. Other site facilities will include a racing and driver training school, and a pit building and grandstand.

The track's length is likely to be 2.8km to 3.5km, and its unique seafront location makes it an iconic site for drivers and spectators. It also allows a 1km straight, longer than the average of 700m in other permanent circuits.

Early estimates put construction costs at about $100 million.

Motorsports fever has been on the rise since May, when Singapore announced it will host its first F1 race on a Marina Bay street circuit next year.

However, said Dr Balakrishnan, the F1 race is just once a year and is insufficient 'as a platform to encourage all the other potential developments which surround motorsports'. Hence the decision on a permanent facility which could host other races, exhibitions and industry-related events.

One development the Government is keen to tap is the business potential of the motorsports industry. Top automobile manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes use motor races as technical and engineering test-beds for their commercial vehicles.

Said Dr Balakrishnan: 'Many of these companies already have a base in Singapore. As Singapore moves up the value chain... there are areas we believe Singapore's high-precision engineering and our past experience will give us a competitive edge.'

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

The local motorsports fraternity is also understood to be in the advanced stages of planning a national race 'born and bred in Singapore'. It will be staged at the new circuit and involve touring cars.

Said Singapore Motor Sports Association official Tony Tan: 'To us, this is like the next biggest news after F1. This is something we can call our own. Fewer trips to Sepang and Pasir Gudang for us soon!'

Channel NewsAsia 26 Oct 07
Govt calls for proposals to build permanent race track in Changi

SINGAPORE : The government is calling for proposals to build a permanent race track in Changi.

This is to help make Singapore into a regional motor sports hub by riding on the F1 fever that has hit the country.

Due to its size, the proposed Grade 2 track is not designed for F1, but other smaller races.

Races like the A1 are just some of the exciting events that could come to Singapore should this proposed track design materialise.

A 20-hectare land off Changi Coast Road will be the site for the permanent facility.

Its seafront location will make it one of the most scenic circuits in Asia.

More importantly, the track will allow year-round usage and have benefits beyond sport.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports said: "It is also an industry that we want to promote. A lot of people think the production and building of cars is not something that Singapore has a role in. But contrary to that, if you look at modern cars, there is a lot of research development, high-tech planning and design which goes into it and as Singapore moves up the value chain. Singapore's high precision engineering and our past experience will give us a competitive edge."

Testing of cars aside, driver training courses can also be conducted.

The track will cost some $84 million and the ministry said there are interested parties.

It will be the most compact and efficient in Asia - measuring about 2.8km.

"With limited space, there will be a compromise because the longer the track, the more corners there will be. This also means the track is likely to be slower compared to a shorter track. But having said that, you also depend very much on the design of the track," said Fan Chien Jen, Deputy Director, Motor Sports Development Division, Singapore Sports Council.

The track will also allow the sport to grow here and develop future champions at a racing academy.

"A chance for a driving school perhaps... some kind of academy that'll give the driver a chance to get on the pathway. It will allow the masses to enjoy this, not only as a spectator but also to drive," said Oon Jin Teik, CEO of Singapore Sports Council.

The ministry will not fund the project. It will call for proposals both here and overseas in May 2008.

The track is expected to be up and running by 2011. - CNA /ls

Business Times 27 Oct 07
Permanent race track to be built at Changi
By Vincent Wee

THE government said yesterday it will develop motorsports here by working with the private sector to build a permanent race track on a 20-hectare site at Changi and putting together a comprehensive plan.

'Motorsports is an activity that has great potential for Singapore,' said Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan.

It is being recognised first as a sport in its own right and second as an industry that Singapore wants to promote, he said.

The Economic Development Board has realised that there is business potential and is part of the team working on the development project.

Emphasising that it is still at a preliminary stage, Dr Balakrishnan said: 'We are now signalling to the private sector, local and international, that Singapore is interested in the development of a permanent motor sports track.

'We want them to get in touch with the Sports Council and start the dialogue with us over the next few months as we refine the detailed specifications of the tender that we will call.'

The Singapore Sports Council will lead a multi-agency team which will market the project locally and internationally.

The seafront view and longish sides of the 30-year tenure site, which could yield a track 2.8-3.5km long with possibly one of the longest straights in Asia, would be unique selling points. The track should be able to seat at least 15,000 spectators and would be a Grade 2 FIA-approved track circuit that could host any type of motor race except Formula 1.

There would also be a Grade 1 karting track - the only such track in South- east Asia.

Promoters bidding for the track will have to bring in at least three international races and two national series a year, as well as other motor sports events and exhibitions. In addition, a motor racing and advanced driving school must be part of the facilities.

A request for proposal is expected to go out in May next year. The tender process will likely take six to nine months and the track is expected to be completed by end-2010 or early 2011.

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