Sports Council calls for tenders to build permanent racing track

By end-2011, Singaporeans will enjoy motor racing in the country’s first permanent track. The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) has called for tenders or a Request For Proposal for the Changi Motorsports Hub.

The 3.5-kilometre-long track will sit on a 41-hectare site, which is about the size of 58 football fields. It will face the sea, near Singapore’s Changi Airport on the eastern end of the island.

The Grade 2 track, with an 8,000 capacity grandstand, can be used for all races from A1 to MotoGP, except Formula One.

The government was supposed to call for tenders last year after the location was confirmed in October 2007. However, the SSC delayed it to better meet the requirements of potential bidders, such as doubling the land size from the original 20 hectares.

The government said there are interested parties, despite the current economic downturn and the estimated cost of several hundred million dollars.

Alex Chan, chairman of SSC, said: “In this case, it is a wholly private sector project and from our assessment, talking to various parties who have shown interest, they like this thing to go on.”

This is partly due to the hub’s unique features, which will have entertainment, retail, education, training and even R&D under one roof.

Fan Chian Jen, deputy director, Motorsports Industry Development, SSC, said: “(We want) to have a circuit that runs 24/7, whether or not there are motorsports activities, so that people go there, wine and dine and experience motorsports in other ways.”

Another plus is that the hub will be located close to the city and airport, making it a viable tourist destination.

The Singapore Sports Council is hoping that the successful bidder would target transit passengers at the Changi Airport. These travellers could come for a quick spin around the track and be awarded a certificate for their best times as a memento before they catch their next flight.

The track’s compact size is also a bonus for fans. Enzo Biagioni-Froudist, track consultant, Changi Motorsports Hub, said: “In some of the larger events, we really see only snippets of the action. This facility offers other opportunities, which allow much greater visual access to the racing.”

Tenders for the 30-year lease must be submitted by August this year, with the winning bid to be announced in the first quarter of 2010. Tender documents are available at the Singapore Sports Council.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 30 Mar 2009

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