Karting fever here before the Grand Prix

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office S Iswaran (right) and director and CEO of the Institute of Technical Education Bruce Poh participating in a go-kart race that was part of 2013 Rev Up Singapore! campaign.

SINGAPORE - As part of the build up to this year's Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, which will be held along Marina Bay from Sept 19 to 21, race promoters Singapore GP Pte Ltd has added a thrilling activity for fans.

A karting training programme and championship will be introduced to give fans the experience of a sport most drivers use as the first step to a professional career in Formula 1.

Along with the various initiatives launched to generate interest and build up excitement for this year's race, The New Paper understands that the annual entertainment programme during the race weekend could feature a new venue.

The Padang and the F1 Village at the Marina Bay street circuit have provided the stage for the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna and Maroon 5 over the past six years.

Fort Canning Park has also been used as a concert venue before, and there is a chance some of this year's acts could entertain at the Gardens by the Bay or even the new National Stadium at the Sports Hub, which is set to open its doors next month.

According to Singapore GP, the entertainment line-up for 2014 will be announced soon.

The karting programme is part of the Rev Up Singapore! campaign and will be exclusively for Singaporeans and Singapore residents between 15 and 21 years old, and will feature a one-day workshop between June 11 to 14, heats (June 15) and a championship race on Aug 30.

The group will be capped at 120 and these students must have no prior karting experience. They will be selected by ballot and trained in the fundamentals of motor racing through theory and practical workshops.

These youngsters will then prove their mettle in the championship final along the Formula 1 circuit at Marina Bay in two categories: 15 to 17 years old, and 18 to 21 years old.

SCHOLARSHIP

The top driver in each category will win a year-long karting scholarship, consisting of a Singapore Motor Sports Association karting licence, practice sessions, full race gear, and entry to the 2015 KF1 official races in Singapore.

"Karting has close links to Formula 1. It is how world champions Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel, started out their professional racing career," a Singapore GP spokesman said.

"The programme aims to introduce karting to as many Singaporeans as possible.

"It will provide them the coveted opportunity to race on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, just like the Formula 1 drivers."

Fans of all ages will also be able to try their hand at go-karting for free by participating in the Rev Up Singapore! Kartnival at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Aug 31.

Participation is on a first-come-first-served basis, with a total of 500 slots available.

Singapore GP has also teamed up with the public libraries for the "Pit Stop @ The Libraries" exhibit - a series of roadshows on Formula 1.

Fans can visit www.singaporegp.sg/revupsingapore for more information on the various progarmmes and initiatives ahead of this year's Grand Prix

The programme aims to introduce karting to as many Singaporeans as possible. It will provide them the coveted opportunity to race on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, just like the Formula 1 drivers.

- A Singapore GP spokesman

This article was published on May 8 in The New Paper.

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