New drive to rev up interest in F1

SINGAPORE - Singapore GP and KF1 will train a pair of young karting novices and transform them into competitive drivers in less than a year - without charge.

That is the prize that the race promoter is dangling in the lead-up to September's Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.

The initiative is part of a Rev Up Singapore! campaign which launches today. A complimentary training programme will be offered to 120 rookies to learn the ropes of karting before competing in a race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Aug 30.

The winners of the two age categories (15-17 and 18-21) will each earn a year's sponsorship - including a karting licence, race suit, practice sessions and race entry fees - worth $11,850.

"This programme will give young Singaporeans first-hand experience of karting," said Tan Teng Lip, president of the Singapore Motor Sports Association.

"Hopefully, through this initiative, we will be able to create greater awareness of the sport among students."

The karting programme is one of several new initiatives that Singaporeans can sign up for at, ahead of the Sept 19-21 night race.

Also on the agenda are an Aug 31 Kartnival, where 500 participants will drive karts around the Marina Bay circuit; and five library roadshows with talks, movies and exhibits on F1's history and technology.

Singapore GP's school visits and behind-the-scene tours, which were introduced last year, will continue.

The Thursday Pit Lane Experience, which last year saw 2,500 members of the public get a close-up look at the team garages, is also back, with the added incentive of a tour of the Caterham set-up for five lucky balloters.

A Singapore GP spokesman said the Rev Up Singapore! campaign aims to share the excitement of F1 islandwide.

"Each year, we aim to up the ante by offering experiences that reach out to and encourage participation from a wider audience."

More initiatives may yet come, with Singapore Airlines promising to make an impact in the first of a two-year title sponsorship deal.

"As we have only just signed the agreement with Formula One Management, we are not in a position to disclose our plans at this point," an airline spokesman said.

"But our staff have been tasked with developing exciting activities around our sponsorship, which we will announce in due course."

This article was published on May 8 in The Straits Times.

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