40,000 expected to attend Saudi E-Prix in Riyadh

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The E-Prix, held in the UNESCO World Heritage Site outside the capital Riyadh, is the first event of its kind in the Middle East. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 07 December 2018
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40,000 expected to attend Saudi E-Prix in Riyadh

  • Formula E is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars

A Formula E event in the historic town of Ad-Diriyah is expected to attract around 40,000 people, including visitors from the Americas and Europe.
The E-Prix, held in the UNESCO World Heritage Site outside the capital Riyadh, is the first event of its kind in the Middle East and also boasts a glittering lineup of musical talent including David Guetta, Jason Derulo and Amr Diab.
Formula E, officially the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars.
“The Kingdom is preparing to host the Formula E race a week from now,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice president of the General Authority for Sport, said on Thursday. “We are confident that a fruitful partnership agreement with the Formula E World Championship is an ambitious and inspiring step to organize the grand and anticipated Formula E race.
“I would like to emphasize that the tickets will not only be dedicated to race events, But also to attend the largest-ever festival in the Kingdom for motor racing, music, entertainment and cultural activities, which will include the organization of six major international art exhibitions for the first time in the Kingdom.”
The biggest number of registered visitors were coming from Europe and North America, the prince said, but people were
also coming from Russia and Australia.
“The fact is that we are hosting one of the biggest races in the world even though we don’t have an official racetrack. We are racing in the streets, just like how it started in the past, yet in a historical place which is the fatherland of the first Saudi state. To merge the past and future and enjoy the present will only add to Ad-Diriyah, Riyadh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Nobody will be excluded from the event, he added, because it also has attractions for women and children.
Prince Abdul Aziz, himself a famed racing driver, told media at Thursday’s press conference that two Saudi nationals would be taking part in the E-Prix but that he would not be on the track at Ad Diriyah.
“I still race, but in other forms. If I got a chance I would go for it but my turn today is bigger than participating and it is to organize this worldwide event in which we hope everyone will enjoy.”
Prince Khalid bin Talal Al-Faisal, president of the Saudi Federation of Motor Sports and Motorcycles, called the E-Prix a dream come true.
Prince Khalid, who retired from racing in 2011, said: “It is a dream for me, as a race car lover, to see Formula E in Saudi. It’s a day that will go down in history, and I am honored to be working on it.”
He revealed there was a surprise in store for drivers as spectators will be able to vote on who will get an extra boost of 25 kilowatts to their vehicle.


Formula E’s Felipe Massa races ‘fastest animal on planet’ in Saudi Arabia

Updated 10 December 2018
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Formula E’s Felipe Massa races ‘fastest animal on planet’ in Saudi Arabia

  • ABB FIA Formula E Championship listens to fans by pitting Gen2 car and Felipe Massa in race against a peregrine falcon in Saudi Arabia
  • Spreading his wings for the first time in Formula E machinery, 90-kilometers south-west of the Ad Diriyah, Massa’s mirrors loomed large with the claws of the peregrine falcon

RIYADH: Formula E driver Felipe Massa behind the wheel of a Gen2 racing car has gone up against a peregrine falcon in a straight fight in Saudi Arabia to outrun the fastest animal on the planet.

It’s not the first time the fully-electric Formula E car has been pitted against a member of the animal kingdom, with reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne racing a cheetah on the Western Cape of South Africa last year.

Narrowly edging out the fastest land mammal in 2017, Formula E fans asked for a re-match — but this time together with more stern competition. Listening to the feedback of fans on social media, it was the turn of the peregrine falcon, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 350 km/h (217 mph) when diving through the skies above Saudi Arabia.

Massa was in the Kingdom ahead of the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix, which will see the racing legend line-up on the Formula E starting grid for the first time on December 15 at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site on the outskirts of Riyadh.

For the battle of man and machine vs the natural world, the winged predator was trained to set its sights on a different kind of prey roaming through the desert — with a lure attached to the roll hoop of the advanced new-look Gen2 car.

Spreading his wings for the first time in Formula E machinery, 90-kilometers south-west of the Ad Diriyah, Massa’s mirrors loomed large with the claws of the peregrine falcon. But did he manage to shake off his opponent?

To watch Felipe and the falcon in flying formation, visit — https://youtu.be/ERxeaV60_7g

Felipe Massa, VENTURI Formula E Team driver, said: “It was an incredible experience for me to race against the fastest member of the animal kingdom — it’s not something I will forget in a hurry. I like the fact that this idea came from the fans, and Formula E listened and accepted the challenge.

“The footage from the drive is very special and it was a privilege to take part. I’m looking forward to returning to Ad Diriyah and to start racing. It’ll be my first race in Formula E and I’m eager to get behind the wheel again. I’ve missed racing and this series has shown to be one of the most competitive out there.”

The 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix is the opening round of the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship and the competitive debut of the Gen2 car and VENTURI Formula E Team driver Felipe Massa.

As well as Formula E action, exciting fan zones, entertainment and cultural attractions, plus unique dining and retail experiences will be awaiting ticketholders at Ad Diriyah, across three days, starting December 13.

That evening, December 13, will see Enrique Iglesias and Jason Derulo kick off the first of three incredible nights of music concerts for fans. The following day, December 14, Arab music legend Amr Diab and globally-renowned pop band Black Eyed Peas will delight the audience. And, on December 15, race day, following the exhilarating 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix, US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will bring the event to an electrifying finale.

Only fans holding tickets will be able to access the entire Ad Diriyah site, including all the action, fun, and thrilling complimentary concerts.

Tickets are on sale at http://fiaformulae.com/Ad-Diriyah and are also available at Point of Sale units at Riyadh Park Mall, Oud Square and Doos Carting (only Grandstand tickets from Doos) and Seven Car Lounge.