Interest revving up for Changi race track

International and local companies have shown ‘substantial’ interest in the new Changi race track, the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) said yesterday when unveiling the Request For Proposal (RFP) to build and manage the project.

The plan is for a permanent circuit on 41 hectares of land at the eastern tip of Singapore. Also on the site – next to Changi Exhibition Centre – will be an entertainment complex, F&B facilities, retail outlets and convention halls.

The track will be at least 3.5km long and Grade 2 certified by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, which means all car races except Formula One can be held.

It will be Grade 1 certified by the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme, which means motorcycle grand prix races can be held.

The government announced plans in October 2007 to work with the private sector to build a permanent track at Changi.

‘The RFP has been long anticipated,’ SSC chairman Alex Chan said yesterday. ‘We spent a considerable amount of time reviewing financial models, plans and the site to make it attractive and sustainable for potential bidders.’

The original plan was for a 20ha site. SSC said the additional land will be parking space shared with Changi Exhibition Centre.

‘When the project comes to fruition they will be two good neighbours,’ Mr Chan said.

There is ‘demand’ for the project and now is a ‘good time to launch it’ given it will take 18-24 months to complete, by which time the economy is expected to recover, he said.

The RFP is available with a $10,000 deposit. Proposals must be submitted by Aug 27.

The successful bidder will be announced in the first quarter of 2010. Project completion is scheduled for Q4 2011 and the track opening by Q1 2012.

‘Interest has remained strong,’ said Mr Chan, who expects several consortiums to bid for the project. It will cost ‘several hundred million dollars, so it cannot be managed by just one company’, he said.

Bidders will be evaluated 40 per cent on their ability to make the project a top venue for international motorsports.

They will be evaluated 20 per cent each on developing a centre of excellence for motorsports training and education, and financial and business sustainability.

The other criteria are contribution towards developing a local motorsports ecosystem and attractiveness of commercial mix and events.

The winning bidder will get to build and operate the project for 30 years.

SSC deputy director Fan Chian Jen summed it up: ‘We are looking for the top proposal for the integration of hardware and software.’

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