Today is the last chance for UAE car enthusiasts to check out the second annual Barbican Turbo festival.
Custom car festival drifts towards its concluding day
Today is the last chance for UAE car enthusiasts to check out the second annual Barbican Turbo festival. Last year, the festival made its debut with the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre filled with customised cars, the after-market modifications ranging from the outrageously cosmetic to the ear-splittingly loud. According to official figures, more than 19,000 people attended the 2008 event and organisers are hoping for 30,000 people to attend this year. Apart from the hall of tuned, modified cars and their proud owners, the star attraction of 2008 was Team Orange, the 2006 World Series Drift Champions and stars of the blockbuster movie Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift. This year, the drifters are back with two stars of the European Drift Championship, Mark Luney, also known as "Sideways Buff" and Paul "Coupe" Conlan showing off their skills. Luney has been performing in a Nissan Skyline and Conlan is behind the wheel of a Nissan S13. A road safety element has also been incorporated into this year's event with Emirates Driving Institute having a strong presence this year. The use of seat-belts will be the main theme of their presentation. Peter Richardson, the general manager of technical and operations at Emirates Driving Institute, describes seat-belts as "the single most effective piece of safety equipment in a vehicle." The institute's seat-belt convincer is on display, a device which allows visitors to experience the effects of a car crash while wearing a seat-belt. A specialist roll car, headrest restraints, child restraints and a safe tyre display are also part of the institute's presentation. Passing the seat-belt message on to young drivers and families is one of the main aims of this presentation. "Barbican Turbo is especially relevant for the Emirates Driving Institute because it directly targets drivers, families, youth and the community as a whole," says Matt Tarrant, the director of the festival. Tarrant says the drifting display will also reinforce the message that cars can be enjoyed safely. "Drifting is perfect for our event because it involves the crowd and combines the aftermarket tuning scene, which is what we are all about, with professional-level safe racing and incredibly decorated cars." But the event is largely there for the car owners with their customised machines on display and the passionate petrolheads who want to spend time among spectacular motors. The car owners will vie for prizes with the winners announced today. Categories include Car of the Festival, Best Engine and Best Airbrush. Once again, the National Sound Off competition will be held at the event where car owners will be pitting their car stereos against each other. Prizes will be awarded for "Best Installation" and "Loudest Stereo". For the first time this year, the National Dyno Shoot Out will be held at the festival to determine which car has the greatest horsepower. As well as cars being on static display in the Adnec hall, car and motorcycle clubs will be able to display their members' best vehicles in a specially designated paddock area. The Japanese Tuning Zone is another new addition to this year's festival, focusing on radically tuned cars with Japanese badges. Keeping the event truly international, the Global Tribes AutoZone will showcase custom cars from the US, Japan, Australia and Europe alongside the Local Heroes AutoZone, which features some of the best unique cars from the Middle East. The Unbelievable Motorcycle area is showcasing customised two-wheelers from around the world. The Adrenaline Sports Live event runs alongside the main Barbican Turbo festival and includes exhibitors from the adventure and adrenaline sports communities, in particular those promoting travel for the brave and bold. At the event itself, there are opportunities for visitors to try out non-motoring extreme sports such as skiing and indoor sky-diving.