As talented drivers from all over the world head to the Bahrain International Circuit for another high-octane racing event, we let you in on six things you need to know about the Six Hours Race.
The Six Hours of Bahrain is part of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) which was first held in 2012.
It’s not just all about the Formula One in Bahrain as we also host some other outstanding events throughout the year. Six Hours of Bahrain is certainly no exception. The WEC features eight endurance races across the world in England, Belgium, France, America, Japan, China, Brazil and, of course, Bahrain. The most famous of the races is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the biggest event of the annual WEC calendar.
In Bahrain, each year, it sees a massive grid of around 30 cars descend on the kingdom, racing in many prestigious car brands such as Audi, Toyota, Porsche, Aston Martin and Ferrari.
This year’s race at the Bahrain International Circuit ties in with the track’s landmark 10th anniversary celebrations and the FIA WEC has also recently confirmed they’ve extended the agreement to host an exclusive Middle East race in Bahrain for an additional three years.
This year’s Bahrain race is the seventh and penultimate round of the 2014 WEC.
For the past two years Bahrain has provided an exciting ‘race into darkness’. In 2012, we hosted the sixth round of the eight-race championship while in 2013 we saw the adrenaline-fuelled final leg of the entire championship.
Historically, the drivers begin the race in the late afternoon and race into the night for at least six hours. In 2014, as we host the seventh and nail-biting penultimate round of the championship, the race will run from 3pm to 9pm but they’ll be competing under the track’s all-new flood lighting system which made its global debut at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
In the 2014 championship, there are five car categories as opposed to the four there have been in previous years.
For the past two years there have been four car categories in the WEC, namely the Le Mans Prototype 1-Light (LMP1), LMP2, Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance (LMGTE) Pro and LMGTE Am. The Le Mans Prototype cars are not typical road cars but ones that have been specially created for this category of racing. They are reportedly today’s fastest closed-wheel cars in circuit racing and reach a maximum speed that’s even higher than a Formula One car. LMGTE cars are grand tourer race cars, luxury vehicles capable of high-speed, long-distance driving.
The new addition this year is the Le Mans Prototype 1-Hybrid (LMP1-H) class. Defending champions Audi and rivals Toyota are racing with two of their hybrid cars alongside Porsche, which has former Formula One driver Mark Webber in one of their two hybrid vehicles.
Year after year, the WEC not only hosts great races but also provides a platform for car manufacturers to test their new technologies.
Two support racing series will also run alongside the main event.
If you thought you were heading over to see just one racing spectacle then you’d fortunately be mistaken as the India-based MRF Formula 2,000 Series and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East are also holding rounds through the weekend.
The MRF Formula 2,000, an up-and-coming series in Asia, is a single-seater series where drivers race in a car that’s powered by a two-litre Renault engine and built around a Dallara chassis. Racers fly in from all over the world to compete in this Bahrain leg, which is the second of three rounds in its 2014-2015 season. Among them is Bahrain’s own Shaikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa.
Meanwhile, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, which is based at the Bahrain International Circuit and promoted by Austrian motorsport legend Walter Lechner, is the leading one-make GT series from the region. This Bahrain round is the opener race for its 2014-2015 season.
It’s more than just a race.
There’s plenty of adrenalin-fuelled excitement attracting racing fans to the track but there’s also a whole host of other activities going on around the Bahrain International Circuit, providing fun for all the family.
The entertainment schedule includes autograph sessions with the WEC drivers, carnival games, children’s rides, arts and crafts stations, food and beverage stalls and live stage performers. This includes Disney-inspired theatre for the kids, a couple of unique acrobatic shows, stilt walkers and much more. On top of all that, they’ll be opening the Paddock to the public so fans can get chance to see the behind-the-scenes WEC teams and drivers hard at work.
The Six Hours of Bahrain is the third international endurance event to take place on the island.
Racer stamina isn’t just reserved for this race as in 2006, too, the Bahrain International Circuit hosted the 24 Hours Race of Bahrain followed by a six-hour international race for superbikes in 2009. These were both one-off, stand-alone events but neither are as big nor as significant as this upcoming world-renowned championship race.
Quick event facts
The Six Hours of Bahrain is being held on November 14 and 15 from 3pm to 9pm at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.
Tickets are BD20 (adults), BD10 (children 12 and under) or free for kids up to three.
Passes for Corporate Lounges are BD200 each.
All tickets are available at the BIC sales outlet in Bahrain City Centre (ground floor, near Gate Three), online at www.bahraingp.com or by calling the BIC Hotline (1745 0000).