x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Year-long action and events for all of the community at Yas

Building on the success of the Formula One weekend, Yas Marina is now holding events throughout the year.

Abu Dhabi // All roads may lead to Yas Marina Circuit this week but the venue is also attracting plenty of interest for the other 51 weeks of the year.

Motorsports fans can experience what it is like to drive around the circuit, or be a passenger and can also get tuition.

“We want people to be able to come here and feel like a champion or get the experience of a champion, so we have a racing school,” said Nick McElwee, sales and marketing director at Yas Marina Circuit.

These driving experiences, which attract tourists, UAE residents, men, women, young and old alike, result in a surge of interest after the excitement of the Grand Prix.

“It coincides with the weather being at its best across November, December, January,” said Mr McElwee.

There is also a Drifting school. The motorsport involves cars skidding and sliding around a course and is hugely popular.

“We can turn somebody having a problem to parallel park into a drift king,” he said. 

Fans can also feed their appetite for motorsports at Yas Drag Racing Academy.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has sold out for the fifth time and it did so with capacity increased to 55,000 – up 5,000 on last year. 

“I think we have started to build a reputation and a character around this event which is very appealing to a global audience, said Mr McElwee.

More than 40 per cent of visitors during the F1 weekend are non-UAE residents and they come from about 80 countries, he said.

“We have got a bigger crowd than we have ever had before and we have sold out, so from both the local, regional and global perspective, we are certainly on the map,” he said.

But it is not just motorsport that is drawing in the masses, health and fitness activities are also proving very popular.

“It’s not just a once-a-year big international event. It’s really important for us as a venue that we are seen, and we are, as strong in the local community all year round as we are with the Grand Prix internationally,” said Mr McElwee.

Train Yas, which enables people to cycle, walk or run on the circuit, takes place on Tuesday nights. This event attracts between 2,000 to 2,500 each week during the winter months and is growing in popularity. Go Yas, which is just for females, is run on Wednesday nights.

“It’s really important that we push out this healthier living. We very much want to be part of that message and that call to action in Abu Dhabi and the UAE,” said Mr McElwee.

About 17,000 people are expected to take part in Walk 2013 on November 15 to increase awareness about diabetes, he said.

On November 22 there will be the Adnic Yas Run. The action continues in February with the annual triathlon.

“Our traffic is increasing year on year. There’s lots of things going at Yas Marina Circuit all the time,” said Mr McElwee.

ecleland@thenational.ae