Promoted: Get set for landmark Saudi FE opener at Ad Diriyah

The 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E season will kick off on December 15 with the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix.

Promoted: Get set for landmark Saudi FE opener at Ad Diriyah
‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix track presentation
Robin Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE05
‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix track presentation
Andre Lotterer, DS TECHEETAH, DS E-Tense FE19
‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix track presentation
‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix track presentation
‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix track presentation
Nissan E.Dams Formula E Car Launch
Dragon Racing, Penske EV-3
Felipe Massa, Venturi Formula E, Venturi VFE05
F4 driver Amna Al Qubaisi
Felipe Massa, Venturi Formula E, Venturi VFE05

The race will be the first of the Gen2 era, as FE introduces a new car capable of a higher top speed and much greater range. The Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix is therefore a landmark in the history of one of the world’s fastest-growing motorsport series.  

The Gen2 cars can complete a full E-Prix distance, which eliminates the need for drivers to swap into a second machine mid-race as they did in Gen1, and reach a top speed of 176mph (283km/h) – an increase of 39mph (63km/h).

The race will take place on 15 December and will be followed by FE’s first in-season test of the 2018/19 championship. 

Ad Diriyah became the first capital of Saudi Arabia in 1744 and is now a UNESCO heritage site. The 1.5-mile (2.495km) track features 21 turns and winds its way through the historic area.

As well as the racing, ticket holders for the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix will be entertained by a packed festival, which will be filled with musical, cultural and culinary delights. Harvey Nicholls is creating five unique pop up stores at the event, and there will also be a traditional Souk, where merchants will do business and craftsmen will perform their skills before the visitors.

The site opens on 13 December, from 4pm, on December 14 from 2pm, and on race day from 10am.

On 13 December, Enrique Iglesias will headline the festival with scintillating pop and dance anthems, following pop and R&B sensation Jason Derulo. The night before the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix (14 December), Hip-Hop and Pop & Dance royalty The Black Eyed Peas will provide the headline entertainment with support from Arab music hero Amr Diab. Following the racing action (15 December), US music heroes OneRepublic and David Guetta will headline the biggest night of three-day festival.

Access to the complimentary concerts is exclusive to FE ticket holders. Single day tickets for 13 and 14 December start from SAR295, and for 15 December start from SAR395 for race and concert access. Combined three-day tickets start from SAR950.

The three-day ticket gives fans complimentary entrance to the concerts (standing) on all three nights, grandstand seating for the race and amazing views of the action on the track on 15 December. They also get access to the FE E-Village, which will feature a host of activities and attractions, plus more family, cultural and entertainment zones and food and beverage stands.

Single day and three-day grandstand ticket holders will be able to use a ‘Park & Ride’ service that will operate from King Saud University. Shuttle buses to the race will also run from a number of locations across Riyadh.

Hundreds of foreign visitors from more than 50 countries are set to arrive in Saudi Arabia on tourist visas issued in conjunction with the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix. This is the first time that Saudi Arabia has issued tourist visas for an event outside the realm of religious tourism.

FE fans attending the race will also be the first to take advantage of the Kingdom’s brand-new ‘Sharek’ visa portal, through which tourist visas can be obtained. Visa applicants must purchase Saudia Ad Diriyah E-prix tickets to secure a visa, which can be extended for 30 days beyond the conclusion of the FE weekend festivities. 

Tickets are available at http://fiaformulae.com/Ad-Diriyah. International travellers are limited to one ticket per visa. 

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Vice-Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, said: “We hope the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix will see fans from around the globe come to Saudi Arabia to watch this epic sporting spectacle as now your ticket is your visa.  

“We can promise a line-up both on the track, onstage and amongst a breathtaking historical setting that will excite fans across the world. It is the perfect combination of live sport, entertainment, technology and culture, all in the one place and all at one time.”

Following the race, nine female drivers will take part in the in-season test that will follow the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix. An extra test slot has been handed to teams that agree to run a female driver in addition to their regular racers during the one-day event. Drivers including Jamie Chadwick, Simona de Silvestro, Carmen Jorda, Tatiana Calderon and Katherine Legge will take part in the session.

Amna Al Qubaisi will be competing in the test with Virgin Racing. The UAE-born driver competed in the 2018 Italian Formula 4 championship with Prema Racing. 

“I'm very proud to be representing women in general and Arabian women in particular,” she said. “This test drive is another stepping-stone towards my dream of a professional career in motorsports and thanks to the continuous support of Kaspersky Lab, this dream will eventually come true."

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