A Formula E event in the historic town of Ad-Diriyah is expected to attract around 40,000 people, including visitors from the Americas and Europe.
The E-Prix, held in the UNESCO World Heritage Site outside the capital Riyadh, is the first event of its kind in the Middle East and also boasts a glittering lineup of musical talent including David Guetta, Jason Derulo and Amr Diab.
Formula E, officially the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars.
“The Kingdom is preparing to host the Formula E race a week from now,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice president of the General Authority for Sport, said on Thursday. “We are confident that a fruitful partnership agreement with the Formula E World Championship is an ambitious and inspiring step to organize the grand and anticipated Formula E race.
“I would like to emphasize that the tickets will not only be dedicated to race events, But also to attend the largest-ever festival in the Kingdom for motor racing, music, entertainment and cultural activities, which will include the organization of six major international art exhibitions for the first time in the Kingdom.”
The biggest number of registered visitors were coming from Europe and North America, the prince said, but people were
also coming from Russia and Australia.
“The fact is that we are hosting one of the biggest races in the world even though we don’t have an official racetrack. We are racing in the streets, just like how it started in the past, yet in a historical place which is the fatherland of the first Saudi state. To merge the past and future and enjoy the present will only add to Ad-Diriyah, Riyadh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Nobody will be excluded from the event, he added, because it also has attractions for women and children.
Prince Abdul Aziz, himself a famed racing driver, told media at Thursday’s press conference that two Saudi nationals would be taking part in the E-Prix but that he would not be on the track at Ad Diriyah.
“I still race, but in other forms. If I got a chance I would go for it but my turn today is bigger than participating and it is to organize this worldwide event in which we hope everyone will enjoy.”
Prince Khalid bin Talal Al-Faisal, president of the Saudi Federation of Motor Sports and Motorcycles, called the E-Prix a dream come true.
Prince Khalid, who retired from racing in 2011, said: “It is a dream for me, as a race car lover, to see Formula E in Saudi. It’s a day that will go down in history, and I am honored to be working on it.”
He revealed there was a surprise in store for drivers as spectators will be able to vote on who will get an extra boost of 25 kilowatts to their vehicle.