Bigger and better: Formula E set to return to Saudi Arabia

Formula E is returning to Saudi Arabia later this year, with crowds of up to 100,000 expected for the November 22-23 event, a marked increase on 2018’s 60,000.

More fans, more races, more cars and more global acts are being promised by the Gulf kingdom as its reputation as a sports and entertainment destination continues to grow.

Last year’s sell-out Ad Diriyah E-Prix included music icons such as David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias, One Republic and the Black-Eyed Peas, performing as part of the racing championship’s debut in the Middle East.

Now, Formula E’s return for the 2019 Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix promises to eclipse the inaugural year with two races, instead of one, being staged at the UNESCO world heritage site of Ad Diriyah.

The ABB FIA Formula E Championship will return to Saudi Arabia with more action, with Porsche and Mercedes competing for the first time, boosting the number of cars on the track.

Ad Diriyah will be ready to welcome even more international tourists with the surrounding At-Turaif district undergoing an ambitious development programme this year, with thousands more trees planted, plus trails, picnic areas and walking paths created.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, chairman of the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia (GSA), said: “Formula E’s arrival in Saudi Arabia was a watershed moment for the Kingdom, one that thousands witnessed together.

“The 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix excited our nation’s people, our families, through its racing, its exhilarating action, its heroes and its entertainment. Achieved thanks to the ambitions of Vision 2030, it was the biggest festival of sport, music and culture the Kingdom has ever seen.

“This year we look forward to igniting an even bigger season of motor racing for Formula E, we’re ready to welcome even more international visitors, and create another unforgettable moment for our people.”

Last year saw travellers from 80 different countries flock to the event, taking advantage of the first-ever 30-day tourism visas issued under the new online Sharek immigration system. For 2019 this process has been enhanced to make visiting the kingdom even easier.

The 2019 Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix will be the second year of a 10-year partnership between ABB FIA Formula E and the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF). The event will be staged again by promoter CBX, which successfully created the racetrack and venue in the heart of the heritage site.

His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Faisal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, said: “In 2018 the track proved itself as a world-class venue for thrilling motorsport, hailed by racers as one of the most exiting they have faced.

“This year sees even more teams enter the Formula E championship, with Porsche and Mercedes entering the fray. Last year Ad Diriyah was the launchpad for the new Gen 2 race cars and the exciting Attack Zone innovation. This year will be the first-time drivers will have an additional 10kW of power available when using that Attack Mode, rising from 225kW to 235kW.

“Add to that, a double header – two races instead of one – with a total of 24 cars competing. This will fire up Saudi Arabia’s passion for motorsports and we are ready to welcome Formula E back.

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