UNESCO is helping preserve the integrity of the Ad Diriyah heritage site during the event, which also includes large-scale concerts from the likes of David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias and The Black Eyes Peas
The upcoming Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix Formula-E race – the first in the Middle East – will serve as an opportunity to showcase Saudi history and culture to visitors, according to Gerard ‘Jerry’ Inzerillo, CEO of the Ad Diriyah Gate Development Authority.
The event, which begins on December 13, marks the beginning of the fifth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, during which all 11 Formula E teams will use their Gen2 cars in competition for the very first time.
The official launch of the track reveal video.
The Formula E Festival is one week away! From December 13 -15
Buy your Tickets today at https://t.co/EOexo4t9F5 #AdDiriyahEPrix #Saudia_Airlines pic.twitter.com/rZlPlSIwTH— General Sports Authority (@gsaksa_en) December 6, 2018
The venue, northwest of the Saudi capital of Riyadh, is a historic area – often billed by Saudi officials as the ‘jewel of the Kingdom’ – having been founded as a permanent settlement in 1446 due to its fertile farmlands and date groves along the Wadi Hanifah valley.
According to Inzerillo, it is this history that makes the location perfect for showcasing Saudi culture.
“Ad Diriyah is so important to the kingdom because it is the location of the Arabian Peninsula’s first successful harmonious society built on collaboration and natural resources, making the creation of the first Saudi state [in 1744] possible,” he said.
“[It] continues to represent the kingdom’s beginnings, reminding Saudi citizens and guests from all over the world that success can be found through a delicate balance between man’s ambition and nature’s potential.”
Inzerillo also said various design elements of Ad Diriyah’s UNESCO World Heritage site, At-Turaif, reflect “sustainable solutions” that continue to be relevant today.
“At-Turaif’s architectural, economic, social and cultural significance allows the site to stand as a gateway between the Kingdom’s past and its future, representing a dedication to excellence that will take the country forward,” he added.
“It truly embodies the soul of Saudi Arabia’s history….but most importantly, it’s about community. The values of this historical location are all about sharing, learning and growing, and we cannot wait to welcome visitors from around the world.”
The upcoming Formula E event, which runs until Saturday, December 15, also includes a number of concerts including One Republic, The Black Eyed Peas, Enrique Iglesias and David Guetta. Other plans for the event include a pop-up store from Harvey Nichols, a laser show and a number of F&B options such as from the London-based Japanese restaurant Nozomi.
According to Inzerillo, organising such a large-scale event at a heritage site was a “phenomenal” undertaking.
“We are working in close alignment with UNESCO, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the General Sports Authority to make sure that the 2,495-metre Formula E track and the adjacent 'fan zone' maximizes the entertainment value for guests while respecting the integrity of Ad Diriyah,” he said.
“In our work to preserve the mud-brick architecture of At-Turaif throughout the development of new experiences and attractions for the Formula E race and beyond, we are committed to ensuring that not only the race track and event landscape compliments the centrepiece of the location but that the construction also preserves the history.”