S'pore GP woos kids with karting lure

SINGAPORE - One of the surest ways to win someone over is to get them young.

And that seems to be the strategy that Singapore GP has adopted this year in its campaign to popularise motor sport and the Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix among the public.

As part of its Rev Up Singapore! campaign this year, it has launched a karting training programme and championship for Singaporeans and Singapore residents between the ages of 15 and 21. The workshop and heats will be held next month, with the finals on Aug 30.

Karting is often seen as the first step towards a career in motorsport, with Formula One luminaries such as Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel beginning their careers in go-karts.

The 120 students with no prior karting experience will be selected by ballot and trained in the fundamentals of motor racing. They will then compete in the championship finals at the Marina Bay Street Circuit (MBSC) in two age categories - 15 to 17 and 18 to 21.

The top driver in each category will win a year-long karting scholarship. It will include a Singapore Motor Sports Association karting licence, practice sessions, full race gear, and entry to the 2015 KF1 official races in Singapore, worth $11,850 a head.

Adults who are Singaporean or Singapore residents have not been left out either. Those who want to try their hand at karting can do so at a "Kartnival" on Aug 31 at the MBSC. There are 500 slots, available on a first-come-first-served basis.

The allure of F1 lies in its exclusivity. It is a sport whose events are attended by royalty, heads of state, celebrities and tycoons. These VIPs are often the only patrons who are allowed to visit the pit lane and other hard-to-access areas like team garages.

But this year, 200 members of the public will get to visit the paddock, team garages and even restricted areas like the Race Control Room during a behind-the-scenes tour between Sept 6 and 9.

The pit lane experience will also return, with 2,500 ordinary folk allowed to walk on that hallowed stretch as well as see some of the teams in action on Sept 18.

Several roadshows will also be held as the nation gears up to stage the seventh Singapore Grand Prix on Sept 21.

As part of the Pit Stop @ The Libraries series, the movies Grand Prix and Senna will be screened for free at the Jurong Regional Library, as well as the Bukit Merah, Bedok, Ang Mo Kio and Central public libraries.

Visit www.singaporegp.sg/revupsingapore for more details

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