Saudis transform ancient site into Formula E race track

Officials say Ad Diriyah is bristling with activity to transform the ancient site into a venue for electric car racing
Saudis transform ancient site into Formula E race track
The circuit is currently under construction on the streets of Ad Diriyah and the 2,495-metre long track will have 21 turns.
By Sam Bridge
Sun 18 Nov 2018 02:35 PM

More details have been released regarding Saudi Arabia's festival of racing event in December which will include the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix weekend.

Hundreds of foreign visitors from more than 50 countries will be arriving in Saudi Arabia on tourist visas issued in conjunction with the E-Prix.

This is the first time that Saudi Arabia has issued tourist visas for an event outside the realm of religious tourism.

From December 13 to 15, the UNESCO heritage site of Ad Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh will host Saudi Arabia’s largest-ever festival of racing.

The inaugural competition will be accompanied by a schedule of cultural activities, live music and entertainment featuring globally-renowned performers.

These activities will serve as a sideshow to the spectacular action on the track as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship makes its debut not only in Saudi Arabia but in the entire Gulf region.

E-Prix enthusiasts will also be the first to take advantage of the kingdom’s new Sharek visa portal, through which tourist visas can be obtained. Visa applicants must purchase E-Prix tickets to secure a visa which can be extended for 30 days beyond the conclusion of the Formula E weekend festivities.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, said: “We hope the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix will see fans from around the globe come to Saudi Arabia to watch this epic sporting spectacle as now your ticket is your visa.

“We can promise a line-up both on the track, onstage and amongst a breathtaking historical setting that will excite fans across the world. It is the perfect combination of live sport, entertainment, technology and culture, all in the one place and all at one time.”

He said Ad Diriyah is bristling with activity to transform the ancient site into a venue for automobile racing.

Ad Diriyah became the first capital of the kingdom in 1744 and has been an integral part of national and regional heritage ever since.

The circuit is currently under construction on the streets of Ad Diriyah and the 2,495-metre long track will have 21 turns.

The 11 participating teams will bring 22 cars to the first E Prix to be run under the 10-year partnership between the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and the Saudi General Sports Authority (GSA) with the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF).

“Ad Diriyah Gate is a unique destination that showcases the soul of Saudi Arabia's past and the promise of its future. Ad Diriyah Gate is a living monument to Saudi Arabia's rich history of community and hospitality, and - in that enduring spirit - we look forward to welcoming people from all over the world to experience its wonders during and after this world-class event," said Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of Ad Diriyah Gate Development Authority.

Tickets for the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix start from SR395 for a seat in the grandstand and include concert access. Tickets are available at http://fiaformulae.com/Ad-Diriyah

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