x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

F1 is all in a weekend's work for Yas Marina

New on its calendar is the Yas Motor Racing Club, which allows the venue to host its own sanctioned races with the Automobile Touring Club UAE.

The Formula One circus rolls into Abu Dhabi for the fourth time this weekend, but for the Yas Marina Circuit it is just another event in its packed calendar.

Every other weekend of the year, the track is still being put to good use with wheel-to-wheel racing between cars and, at times, even bikes.

This weekend, more than 50,000 people will cram into the world-famous 5.5km circuit for the flagship event, but each of the other 51 weekends of the year a more manageable crowd can go to watch some form of motorsport.

"The 2012-13 calendar is one of the busiest we've had," said Saud Al Qaydi, a sales manager at Yas Marina Circuit.

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New on its calendar is the Yas Motor Racing Club, which allows the venue to host its own sanctioned races with the Automobile Touring Club UAE. It includes six rounds of the circuit's own Yas Racing Series Championship and the endurance race, Gulf 12 Hours, which are both held on the racing track.

The purpose-built drag racing strip hosts four rounds of the Pro Drag Racing Series as well as two rounds of the GCC Drag Race.

A section of the racing track will also be used for the karting event UAE Rotax Max Challenge.

Unlike F1, which is locked down to public access and accreditation is required to get anywhere near the garages or teams, families and race fans can wander about the pits on other weekend races.

"They buy their ticket and they have access to everywhere. There's lots of families here creating a good atmosphere," Mr Al Qaydi said.

The sound of screeching tyres is replaced by the sound of runners and bicycles on the track on Tuesday nights for Train Yas, while once a year the venue hosts a triathlon, Tri Yas.

A half marathon and a 10km run also takes place on November 24. It seems that, no matter the time of year, there's always something going on at Yas.

eharnan@thenational.ae