Yas capitalising on 2009 success

V8 racing and GP2 cars

Though the Championship was already decided by the time Abu Dhabi hosted its inaugural F1 Grand Prix, the eyes of the world were still on the emirate as it unveiled its brand-new island circuit, the first to have a hotel, the Yas Hotel, actually built over the track.

The event was sold out to its 58,000-seat capacity over all three days and Yas Marina Circuit has since been awarded the title of Best Formula One Race Promoter 2009 from the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body for world motorsport.

Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Yas Marina Circuit, said: “We are grateful to the many people and organisations in our community who helped deliver this world-class project, so it is quite fitting that we continue to celebrate this success with the trophy on permanent display at the Yas Hotel where everyone can still feel part of this significant achievement.”

A glittering host of international stars including Aerosmith and Beyonce were also on hand to keep the action going throughout the evenings with a series of spectacular concerts which helped draw even further crowds who might not necessarily have come purely for the racing.

And with this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix some way away, as the last in the season running from November 12 to 14, the circuit is gearing up for a full programme of events to keep motorsport fans happy.

February 5 to 6 sees the GP2 Asia Series followed by the Australian V8 Supercars which will be starting their season in Abu Dhabi before appearing in Bahrain, the only two V8 races outside of Australia.

Announcing the line-up V8 series executive chairman Tony Cochrane said the news of starting in the Gulf region at Yas Marina Circuit from February 18 to 20 and the Desert 400 at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) on February 25 to 27 was an enormous result for the sport and its international footprint.

“To add Abu Dhabi and the incredible Yas Marina Circuit is just tremendous. We can’t wait to get to one of the world’s most rapidly expanding regions and economies,” he said.

“That they have been able to work alongside our great friends at BIC to establish this partnership has been wonderful. It’s a brilliant place, amazing circuit and sensational organisation.”

Later in the year there will also be drag racing and the new FIA GT series.