GulfSport Racing starts Formula Gulf racing series
For the first time in the region, young aspiring drivers will have a structured route to F1, building their experience and preparing them for the challenges of the Europe and Asia racing championships.
The series will provide an affordable, professionally-run race series in the UAE with the Champion being awarded a Scholarship to race in Europe. Competitors ranging in age from 15 to 25 will work with professional driver coaches from Europe throughout the 2010/2011 race season at the Dubai Autodrome and the Yas Marina Circuit.
GulfSport Racing aims to use the event to take advantage of local race tracks and offer “an opportunity for those talented and aspiring young drivers to start their journey to F1 on home soil.” Expats are out of luck, because the series will be reserved for GCC nationals.
The FG-1000 single-seater racing car’s design and configuration, which meets all relevant FIA safety requirements, will equip young drivers with the foundation driving skills required for International competition, such as high-downforce front and rear wings, 3-pedals, flat-shift 6-speed sequential gearbox, high performance 1000cc 150 hp 4-cylinder engine, slick racing tyres, data logger and in-car camera. Lap times for the 400-kg car are expected to be between Formula BMW and Formula Renault, both being existing European racing events.
Basing the first step of the motor racing career ladder within the region creates a cost effective alternative to travelling to Europe and the Far East, where drivers have often been poorly prepared and had to deal with much higher costs charged by similar championships and race teams. In order to further control costs and keep the focus on driver ability, the organisers will provide identical racing cars and testing will be limited to official test days. One season of racing will cost a team a little more than Dhs 300,000.
The Formula Gulf series, which will run under the auspices of the UAE’s Automobile and Touring Club (ATCUAE), has “already attracted the support of a major global enterprise that expects competitors to become household names as a result of a multi-part TV show it plans to commission to capture their progress through the training and races.”
GulfSport Racing is a Dubai-based outfit that sells Caterham and Ginetta cars, professional racewear and equipment, organises the GulfSport Radical Cup racing event at hte Dubai Autodrome, and claims to have “most motorsport equipment in stock at all times.” Of course, the last time we tried to buy simple RedLine-branded transmission fluid from them, they left us hanging for as long as six months. Needless to say, we won’t be going there again. All their attention now is definitely towards direct involvement in motorsports rather than as an equipment store.