|F1 powers Bahrain into overdrive
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Germany's high performance sports carmaker, RUF Automobile, is meanwhile finalising plans to manufacture cars in the vicinity of BIC. The new full-range service, production and marketing base will be the first such facility outside RUF's homebase in Pfaffenhausen, Germany. The company puts out only about 35 individually-customised vehicles a year, which are purchased by car enthusiasts, race drivers and collectors at prices beginning at well over $100,000.
Helping to ensure a strong future for BIC, Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) has initiated an intensive programme to find and train Bahraini F1 drivers. Out of 300 applicants, the group was whittled down to 10 and finally three candidates who met all the criteria required for the stringent discipline and aptitudes demanded for F1 drivers.
Hamad Al Fardan, who scored his first victory in the new 2007 Toyota Series, is going to Britain for advanced training, and fans are pinning their hopes on him as a not-too-distant future Bahraini F1 driver. Shaikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa, reigning Formula BMW Asia champion, also won a BMW scholarship to further his studies in motoring and is tipped for F1 fame in an upcoming season.
BIC has created its own distinctive style of putting on the F1 show, considerably helped by a strong hospitality infrastructure to entertain teams and fans. Moreover, the circuit, with its ambitious plans for the future, is pegged to become a hub for so much more than motor racing.