Sports

Singapore ready to host
inaugural night race

Two F1 favorites -- reigning champion Kimi Raikkonen and leader Lewis Hamilton -- are set for a new challenge as Singapore gears up for Formula One's first night race next month.

The SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, which is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. on Sept. 28, is the 15th leg on this year's F1 calendar. It is the first street race in Asia and will be raced on public roads around the Marina Bay area of Singapore.

Night will be turned into day, though for the speed battle with help from 3,180,000 watts of power to reach optimal visibility for the racers.

"The overall luminosity for this racing condition is 3,000 in lux levels, which is four times brighter than a stadium for a soccer match," said Geraldine Yeo, the director of leisure marketing and events management for Singapore's grand prix, in Jakarta on Thursday.

"Therefore, I'm sure the racers will sense no difference in visibility during the event," she said, adding that the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) supervisors had approved the circuit's facility for nighttime racing.

Singapore built the 5.07-kilometer track within the heart of the city. It is built for speeds greater than 300 kilometers per hour. Currently the organizers are furnishing the venue to accommodate 100,600 spectators -- seated and standing.

"Initially, we planned for 80,000 spectators and we are now sold out at over 100,000 tickets. Most buyers are from European countries," said Yeo, adding that ticket box offices are still open due to continued demand.

In addition to the race, organizers have also set up cultural events, such as Master's Formula -- The Artistic Driver, an art exhibition featuring pieces by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse; music concerts by Paul Anka and Diana Krall; and the Singapore River Festival for party goers.

Regional Director ASEAN (Islands) Chooi Yee Choong said, "Singapore desires to be the destination of choice for visitors seeking extraordinary experiences. Therefore, along with Formula One's first night race, we have provided world-class entertainment."

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