Abu Dhabi: Yas Marina Circuit is helping fulfil local motorsport fans’ dreams and fuel hopes of an Emirati one day holding the Formula One world title aloft.
That’s the view of Dubai-based motorsport fan Farhan Al Bastaki, who is taking part in the circuit’s TRD 86 Cup, a new event being held over six weekends between December and April.
Yas Marina's first single-make championship, which offers a trophy to winners in masters and rookie classes, provides competitors with a car built using the best high-performance parts from Toyota Motorsports TRD.
The entry fee is Dh150,000, which accounts for the car and a host of benefits such as race tuition. The cost may seem prohibitive for most people, but is promoted by Yas as an affordable route into the intrinsically expensive domain of motorsport.
Al Bastaki says such initiatives can reap rich dividends in years to come, telling Gulf News: “I very much think that in no more than 20 years, there will be Emirati drivers driving in Formula One and hopefully one day even winning it [the world title] thanks to such initiatives.”
The 42-year-old, who has honed his skills at track days and training events at Yas Marina Circuit and Dubai Autodrome, hopes to compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race. He believes the TRD 86 Cup is the ideal preparation for this.
Explaining why he signed up for the competition, he said: “It’s a great chance to get involved in competition. It’s single make, meaning everyone has the same car, so it’s the driver that makes the difference.
“One advantage of this series is the car is not a supercar and too fast for you to learn. The car is very well balanced, with good weight distribution and centre of gravity and is very well set up. It is a good car to learn from.”
Al Bastaki is also relishing the chance to emulate his Formula One heroes by driving on the circuit.
“It’s an amazing circuit and state of the art,” he said. “It’s been designed to host Formula One, so it’s a very fast circuit and the layout is amazing. You can drive there day or night, because of the very good lighting system.
“The facilities are also amazing, with many hotels around and one [Yas Viceroy] inside the circuit. You see it on TV or see it on Formula One day, and then it’s you on actually there on the grid. It’s a nice feeling.”
For more information on the TRD 86 Cup, call Yas Marina Circuit on 800 927, or visit www.yasmarinacircuit.com.