WEC: Sakhir circuit gearing up for 6hrs of Bahrain racing action
BIC, Sakhir – Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East”, announced today an action-packed programme of events at the Six Hours of Bahrain weekend, slated for November 14 and 15 in Sakhir.
This year’s Six Hours of Bahrain is the seventh and penultimate round of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). It will be another major part of the grand celebrations marking BIC’s landmark 10th anniversary.
BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa revealed the information today at a Press conference and launch held at Capital Club Bahrain at Bahrain Financial Harbor in Manama.
Also in attendance were WEC CEO Gerard Neveu and Audi Sport Team Joest driver Benoît Tréluyer. Tréluyer was a 2012 World Champion with Audi, and was also a winner at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as at the inaugural Six Hours of Bahrain two years ago.
Bahrain is the WEC’s only stop in the Middle East, giving the region’s motorsport fans a special taste of the spirit of the legendary Le Mans race, which is the biggest event of the annual WEC calendar.
“We look forward to once again welcoming the WEC family back to the kingdom for another exciting edition of the Six Hours of Bahrain,” Shaikh Salman said during the Press conference.
“This endurance spectacle is a very unique event that has the potential of becoming a favourite amongst motorsport fans here in Bahrain and across the region.
“We had an unbelievably exciting pair of races the past two years in Bahrain, and with BIC’s 10th anniversary being celebrated in 2014, I am confident that this year’s event will be even more memorable.”
Shaikh Salman added that he is hopeful the Six Hours of Bahrain can build on the monumental success of the 2014 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix held in April.
This will be the third successive year BIC will be hosting the Six Hours of Bahrain, but it will be the first time the WEC competitors will be racing under BIC’s all-new track lighting system, which was only partially complete when the endurance event took place last year.
The floodlights made their global debut at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, and they have added a brilliant new spectacle to the racing package at BIC, enhancing the excitement for both the competing drivers and race fans.
The Six Hours of Bahrain is scheduled to flag off in the daylight at 3pm and will conclude under the floodlights at 9pm.
“We would like to thank the people of Bahrain once again for their warm welcome for the FIA World Endurance Championship,” said Neveu. “We’d also like to thank Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa and the team at Bahrain International Circuit for making the Six Hours of Bahrain possible and for their full support.
“Last year we had an exciting race and a fantastic ambience in the paddock. In 2013, the FIA WEC was the first championship to use the floodlights on part of the circuit and this year we look forward to racing into the night with the full track lit up.
“We are also very happy to confirm that we have extended the agreement with the BIC for an additional three years and the Six Hours of Bahrain will be the exclusive event in the Middle East. Bahrain is the perfect place, with its superb facilities, for the winter test and, of course, for the race.
“The Six Hours of Bahrain will provide entertainment both on and off the track and we are looking forward to returning to Bahrain once again in November.”
The championship will once again be racing with a massive grid of around 30 cars on the track. These challengers will be competing in five categories, one more than the four they raced in at BIC last year.
The Le Mans Prototype 1 category has been split into two: the Le Mans Prototype 1-Hybird (LMP1-H) and the Le Mans Prototype 1-Light (LMP1-L).
The LMP1-H is the unique class for the factory prototype teams. Defending champions Audi and chief rivals Toyota return with their two hybrid cars, along with LMP1-H debutants Porsche, who also will be racing two hybrid-powered challengers, one of which will be driven by former Formula One superstar Mark Webber.
The other categories are the LMP1-L, the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), the Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance Professional (LMGTE Pro) and Amateur (LMGTE Am).
Many of the world’s most prestigious car brands will be represented in the various race classes, including Audi, Toyota, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche, Nissan and Chevrolet, among others.
Meanwhile, apart from the WEC spectacle, the Six Hours of Bahrain weekend will also see plenty of action from the MRF Formula 2,000 Series and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.
Both support series will feature plenty of high-octane racing all weekend, with the MRF holding five races and the Porsche GT3 Cup staging two.
The India-based MRF is one of the up-and-coming series in Asia. It will be holding its second of three rounds in the 2014-2015 campaign in Bahrain. The season-opener will be held in Doha in October, while the championship finale will be held in Chennai in January of next year.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East is another fine addition to the weekend’s events. Based at BIC and run by Austrian motorsport legend Walter Lechner, the championship has established itself as the leading one-make GT series to come from the Middle East.
The GT3 Cup Challenge will be opening its 2014-2015 season at the Six Hours of Bahrain weekend. The new campaign is set to be held over five rounds, with racing taking place in Qatar and the UAE before culminating with the finale in Bahrain in April of next year.
The series will once again be the platform for the region’s best drivers to showcase their talents to the world.
Apart from all the action on the race track, BIC has lined up plenty of fun and family friendly entertainment for all ages. Shaikh Salman said that these include carnival games, miniature children’s rides, arts and crafts stations, food and beverage stalls, live stage performers and so much more!
Shaikh Salman noted that more details on the complete entertainment package will be announced over the coming weeks, which will be the highlight of the off-track attractions.
Furthermore, BIC will be opening its Paddock to the public so that the fans get a chance to see up close and personal all the WEC teams and drivers hard at work. The Open Paddock is unique to the WEC, as no other global championship gives as much free access to what’s going on behind the scenes.
Tickets to the Six Hours of Bahrain cost BD20 each. Children aged 12 years old and younger can get their tickets at half the price. Toddlers aged up to three years old can get in for free.
For more information on the Six Hours of Bahrain – November 14 and 15 or other activities at BIC, visit the circuit’s official website www.bahraingp.com or call the BIC Hotline on +973-17-450000.
Also, find BIC on Facebook , follow BIC on Twitter (@BAH_Int_Circuit) and Instagram (instagram.com/bah_int_circuit), and subscribe to BIC’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/bahrainbic) for regular updates on all happenings at the world-class Sakhir circuit.