Bahrain: Countdown to Bahrain World Endurance Championship grand finale begins

(Middle) BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, (Right) FIA WEC Chief Executive Officer Gerard Neveu and (Left) Toyota Racing driver Alexander Wurz

BIC, Sakhir – Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), has announced its plans for the upcoming Six Hours of Bahrain endurance race, that will take place November 29 and 30 at “the Home of Motorsport in the Middle East.”

The Six Hours of Bahrain is the eighth and final round of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). This year’s championship follows the debut season held last year. This season’s calendar also includes races in the UK, Belgium, France, Brazil, the US, Japan and China. For the second straight year, Bahrain has the privilege of being the championship’s only Middle East round of the season.

BIC had earlier confirmed that it would host the closing round of the 2013 season. Further details about the upcoming two-day spectacle of endurance racing were revealed at a press conference held onsite at the circuit premises in Sakhir. In attendance were BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, FIA WEC Chief Executive Officer Gerard Neveu and Toyota Racing driver Alexander Wurz.

BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman commented: “We are very excited to once again host the Six Hours of Bahrain for the second time in a row as the championship’s only Middle East race and bring the energy and the spirit of Le Mans racing to motorsport fans in the region.

This category of motorsport has a very rich history; its very essence has been derived from the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, which is also part of the WEC.

“We had a fantastic response to the debut Six Hours of Bahrain last year and there’s going to be even more excitement and entertainment this time around.”

“We anticipate an amazing weekend for everyone who attends the Six Hours of Bahrain and look forward to giving the fans another unforgettable motorsport and entertainment event at BIC.”

FIA WEC CEO Neveu commented: “First of all we would like to thank the people of Bahrain for their warm welcome for the FIA World Endurance Championship. We’d also like to thank Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa and the team at the Bahrain International Circuit for making the 6 Hours of Bahrain possible and for their full support.

“Last year we had an exciting race and a fantastic ambience in the paddock and we hope this will encourage more fans from Bahrain and the Middle East will come to watch the final race of the 2013 championship at the BIC. We also hope that the fact the 6 Hours of Bahrain is being held later this year in November, with cooler temperatures, will mean more people will come out to see our cars and drivers.

“We have more cars on the grid in 2013 and the quality of the teams and drivers has provided world class entertainment all around the world, from Europe to Brazil and the United States. Later this month we will be in Japan for the 6 Hours of Fuji and then onto Shanghai on 9 November.

“Working with the BIC, the ACO and FIA are building a world class race event at a world class facility. Bahrain was the perfect place to hold the first 6 Hours of Bahrain held twelve months ago and it will provide the perfect stage to continue the hard work in 2013 in establishing the event as THE best sports car race in the Middle East. We look forward to coming back to Bahrain in November.”

About 30 of the world’s fastest and most prestigious sports cars, run by the world’s premiere international autosport teams will comprise the grid of participants at the Six Hours of Bahrain. Amongst them are former Formula One drivers Alex Wurz, Allan McNish, Nick Heidfeld, Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson as well as other talents who will look to make a mark at the November grand finale. Drivers will work in turns, swapping places behind the wheel a number of times as the six hours wear on.

Competitions will take part in four car classes: the Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1), LMP2, Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance –Pro (LMGTE Pro) and LMGTE Am. Similar to Formula One, WEC racing requires participating vehicles to meet stringent technical specifications and configurations. Le Mans Prototype cars are the fastest closed-wheel racing cars in circuit racing today and can reach maximum speeds even higher than Formula One cars. LMGTE cars are grand tourer race cars. The strict regulations help to even out the playing field which, in turn, results in more exciting racing action. Winners will be crowned in each of the four classes.

Racing will take place on BIC’s 5.412-kilometre Grand Prix track. Action will get underway behind closed doors on November 28 with practice sessions. The first open day to the public will be November 29, which is when qualifying for the next day’s race will be held. The Six Hours of Bahrain is then scheduled to flag off at 3pm on November 30. It will end at 9pm at night.

The Six Hours of Bahrain will feature an open paddock area, giving fans the chance to wander one of the WEC’s busiest zones and take in the sights and behind-the-scenes action at the WEC.

Fans will be able to have a closer look at team buildings and check out the teams hard at work in their respective garages. They also stand the chance to see the WEC’s premiere drivers as they roam around the area throughout the day. An autograph session along the pit lane is also on the cards, for a chance of a lifetime to meet some of the championship’s biggest stars.

SUPPORT RACES

Several exciting support races will feature on the sidelines of the Six Hours of Bahrain, including the opening round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, India’s MRF Challenge and the homegrown BIC 2,000cc Challenge.

The 6 Hours of Bahrain will be a fun-filled weekend for the family with a great line-up of entertainment attractions. An entertainment area located right beside the Le Mans Spirit Club will include a main stage where a string of colourful shows will be presented.

There will be live performances by top local bands including the Awesome People, Alderon, the Legendz, the Gumz Filipino band and popular DJ John Revox.

A vast array of children’s entertainment acts will also feature, such as the Mary Poppins, Hairspray and Wizard of Oz stage shows, a number of roaming characters, carnival games and prizes, balloon twisters, face painters, and other fun attractions.

In addition, there will be an area featuring the work of talented Bahraini artisans and craftsmen.

Tickets for the Six Hours of Bahrain cost BD20 for adults and BD10 for children aged from three to 12 years old, while children aged up to three will enter for free. Tickets to BIC’s Le Mans Spirit Club cost BD200 and give holders a premium viewing experience coupled with the club’s world class hospitality.

BIC’s on-going tickets promotion has seen fans snap up tickets as soon as they were launched. The promotion gives six lucky fans a chance to win amazing prizes at draws that take place every three weeks. Fans have already seen their regular entry tickets upgraded to Le Mans Spirit Club passes after they were named winners at an earlier draw. More draws have also been lined up in the weeks leading up to the 6 Hours of Bahrain, giving fans plenty of chances to win. Furthermore, every ticket will be entered into a grand prize draw – with the grand prize of a brand new car for one lucky winner. The draw will take place during the Six Hours of Bahrain, to make the day even more exciting and memorable for the winner.

All ticket-holders will be able to watch the on-track action from two locations, including BIC’s Main Grandstand and the Batelco Grandstand. The Main Grandstand offers the perfect view of the main straight, the pit lane, the team garages and the winners’ podium; while the Batelco Grandstand allows fans to check out the action taking place on the inner track.

 

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