Singapore Grand Prix tips

Wonderful tips by Ernest Luis. Check them out especially if you intend to attend the 4th Singapore Grand Prix!!

The Singapore Grand Prix returns for its fourth edition on Sept 25. But the 'race weekend' officially starts from Friday, Sept 23.

Singaporeans though, will be gearing up for this annual event, and there will surely be two camps.

One group will be lapping it up, and all the news associated with it, from the sports-related updates, to the latest news concerning events around the race and organisation itself, to lifestyle-oriented news, and even the economic-related debates surrounding this world event.

The other group will naturally, be staying far away from the city centre due to the hive of activity and usual traffic diversions, and we will have announcements related to such developments like bus route diversions, MRT services, here.

This Big Story section on the 2011 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix will cater to news for both groups, so do come here daily for all the stories related to the noisiest but arguably, most exciting event of the year.

Here then, are some tips from the race promoter - Singapore GP - for ticket holders.

1. Non-stop entertainment from 3pm-12.30am.

The Circuit Park gates open from 3pm to 12.30am daily. If you're looking for an adrenaline rush, two support races - the JK Racing Asia Series and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia - will take place on the Marina Bay Street Circuit before the Formula One action.

Besides these, there is plenty of entertainment off the track as well. Check out the seven stages across the circuit park where all-day entertainment will be provided. And if that isn't enough, look out for the captivating roving acts like the Brazilian Samba girls, Transe Express or the Jaipur Maharaja Brass Band.

2. Get live broadcast visual feeds at trackside

Instant replays? Watch interviews, team and driver data, statistical analysis and much more in the palm of your hands anywhere in the circuit by renting a FanVision set. To find out more, visit the Fanvision booth at Esplanade Park (Zone 4) or F1 Village (Zone 1).

3. Dress appropriately.

Enough said, given our weather. Prayers that the haze will not strike during race weekend, are optional.

4. Bring the right tickets for the right day.

That's because tickets are colour-coded for each day.

5. Public transport is the best way to go.

Give your car a break for the weekend. Despite the road closures, the Marina Bay Street Circuit is easily accessible by public transport. Train services are extended until 1am from Friday (Sept 23) to Sept 25.

If you have a Zone 1 ticket, take the free shuttle bus service connecting Lavender MRT station to Gate 1 of the circuit park. The shuttle bus service operates from 2.30pm to 1am, or two hours after the last race of the day, whichever is later.

The nearest gate(s) to your grandstand is indicated on your ticket. Do plan your route to get to the indicated gate as not all 10 gates allow entry for all ticket holders. Some gates only grant access to selected zone's patrons.

6. Travel light and don't bring prohibited items.

Keep your bag as light as possible. Carrying a small bag with only the necessary items will help you pass through the security clearance at the gates faster. Do note that there is a list of prohibited items, which can be found on Singapore GP's official website (see our link at top left of page).

7. Pick up a Survival Kit.

The event goes on, rain or shine, so be prepared with a survival kit which contains a poncho and a pair of earplugs for just $2. Proceeds go to two charities - the Singapore Red Cross Society and St. John Ambulance Singapore. Survival kits can be purchased at all entry gates.

8. Map out your day.

The Circuit Park is divided into four zones, with each having its own entertainment as well as food and beverage offerings, so do get a map at the entry gate or from the ushers and familiarise yourself with what each zone has to offer.

Shane Gavin, who was a Premier Walkabout ticket holder in 2010, suggests that the area near the finish line (between Turn 23 and the Pit Grandstand) is 'the best place to cheer your favourite driver home, and it is also the best place to be if you want to get onto the track and over to the champagne celebration at the end of the race'. He added that another ideal spot to be at the start of the race and when seeking shelter from the rain, is just under the Benjamin Sheares bridge.

Over at Zone 4, walkabout ticketholders looking for a breezy area should head to the Esplanade Bridge. 'Standing closer to The Fullerton Hotel will give you the chance to see the cars make the turn and feel the power of the F1 cars speeding up', said student Candy Lee.

9. World-class entertainment at Padang Main Stage.

The Padang Main Stage can actually fit 41 Formula One cars. It will host sensational Korean trio, GD & Top and Seungri from Bigbang and Glee-starlet Charice on Friday (Sept 23), global mega star Shakira on Saturday (Sept 24) and multi-award winning rock band Linkin Park on Sunday (Sept 25), and 2,000 Fan Zone wristbands will be given out from 3pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on a first-come-first-served basis at the side of the stage along Connaught Drive. The collected wristbands will only be valid for the day.

10. Theatre performances.

If it's humour you're after, catch Forbidden Broadway at Village Stage (Zone 1) on Friday (Sept 23) and Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (Zone 4) on the Sunday as they re-enact spoofs of Broadway classics. If you would like to enjoy some song and dance, 'Jaiho' along with the cast of Bollywood Express at Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (Zone 4) on Friday and at the Village Stage (Zone 1) on Saturday.

I don't know about you, but given my retro tastes, I might just wander along to catch 80s pop icon Rick Astley sing that he's 'never gonna give Singapore up' at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (Zone 4) on Saturday and Village Stage (Zone 1) on Sunday.

Here are some quick links to check:

Guide to race weekend entertainment acts:

http://www.singaporegp.sg/media/entertainment_2011.php

Guide to getting in and out of race:

http://www.singaporegp.sg/race/getting_there.php

11. Supersized food and beverage options.

Indulge in wine and dine options available from 59 outlets across the Circuit Park. On the menu is international cuisine from America, Australia, India, Italy, Middle East, Persia, Singapore and much more. At the Hawker Village in Zone 4, dine under the canopy of trees at Connaught Drive. Expect delicacies from outlets including Shiraz, Al Dente, Barossa, Go India Express, Peach Garden, The Mexican, Quiznos, Kazbar and Go-Go Franks.

Need your local food fix? An array of Singapore-style seafood dishes will also be available in Zone 1. Race fans can sample local specialities such as barbecued seafood and chilli crab claw served with deep-fried buns from Tung Lok. Okay, stop drooling over your computer or touchscreen device as you read this.

Another new addition for this year is the Singapore Street Food @ Bay located under the Bay Grandstand. Patrons can savour Kampong mee siam, shrimp paste chicken, vadai and more from Kriston Food & Beverage. Do note that most outlets accept cash payments only.

12. Re-entering the circuit park.

You can leave and re-enter the circuit park at any time as long as you have your ticket with you. As high human traffic is expected at the vicinity, do make sure you allocate enough time to get back to the Circuit Park for the race.

13. Free rides on the Singapore Flyer (exclusive to Zone 1 patrons).

Get an unparalleled bird's eye view of the Marina Bay Street Circuit from 165m above the ground with a free ride up the Singapore Flyer. Unlimited rides are valid for all Zone 1 and Premier Walkabout ticketholders. There will be dedicated express lanes open to Formula One Paddock Club and hospitality suite patrons.

Tim Neale from the United Kingdom suggests Zone 1 ticket holders should 'take the Singapore Flyer during a session when the Formula One cars are on track for awesome views of the cars as they speed down the start/finish straight.'

14. Business as usual for stakeholders in the vicinity.

Retailers at the Esplanade located within the Circuit Park will carry on business on usual. The food outlets located at the Singapore Flyer including Popeyes, Ya Kun Kaya Toast and the hawker-style Singapore Food Trail, will also be open to ticket holders. Businesses at malls located right outside the Marina Bay Street Circuit like Marina Square and Suntec City will also not be affected, allowing you to continue shopping and dining at your favourite malls before entering the Circuit Park.

15. Thirst quenchers

Last year, over 82,800 glasses of beer were served to the hospitality guests alone. For 2011, Singapore GP has upped the ante by introducing new concept bars throughout the Circuit Park. Tiger Beer will deliver an unforgettable experience with their newly introduced 'Bartainer' and a unique brewery tavern bar. Also available elsewhere are two Margarita Bars, six Grid Bars and the Coates & Ice Cold beer bar that has become a popular feature in Zone 1. I don't know about you but reading this part, has already made me thirsty.

16. Bring a piece of Formula One home.

Formula One team memorabilia will be available for sale at the F1 Village (Zone 1 and Zone 4). There are also merchandise booths that dot the circuit park where exclusive official merchandise will also be sold. Outside the Circuit Park, merchandise will also be available for sale at selected World of Sports outlets and the Podium Motorsport outlet at the Fairmont Hotel atrium. Do visit Singapore GP's website for the full list of retailers (link at the top left corner of this Big Story section).

17. Track openings for partying after the action

New for 2011, selected parts of the track will be open for ticket holders to access after the final track activity until 11.30pm on Friday and Saturday, and until 12.00am on Sunday. This is to enable spectators to experience the Marina Bay Street Circuit up close and to provide Zone 1 with an alternate route to catch the entertainment acts at the Padang stage in Zone 4. The quickest way to the Padang would be to walk on the track in front of the Bay Grandstand through a temporary/controlled opening at Turn 20, past the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre and the Esplanade Park.

18. Photo opportunities aplenty.

You wouldn't want to go home without capturing memories of the world's only Formula One night race and the larger than life art work around the circuit park. For starters, there's the spectacular recreation of 10 planets as high as five metres, which will be illuminated in Zone 1. Also not to be missed are the life-size driver cut-outs placed around the Circuit Park where you can have some fun posing and taking photos with. There are also performances throughout the circuit park by artistes like Rick Astley, Boy George and Shaggy (sure to draw the retro crowd), mesmerising roving artistes and thrilling race action throughout the weekend.

For the enjoyment of other spectators, do note that tripods and monopods will only be allowed in the general walkabout areas and not in the grandstands. Turn 5 is recommended as a good spot for photography by second-time ticket holder Tim Neale, who said: 'The cars are coming directly at you before they turn into the corner. Remember to wear earplugs as the driver will hit the gas at the exit of the corner. The Formula One engine screams to 18,000rpm and it's shatteringly loud!'

19. Fireworks for all

To add to the festival atmosphere, there will be several displays of fireworks. Bay Grandstand ticket holders will be treated to a pyrotechnics display at the end of each Ocean Symphony performance at the floating platform on Friday (Sept 23) and Saturday. On Sunday (Sept 25), be sure to eye the Marina Bay skyline as there will be a spectacular fireworks display after the race.

20. Singapore Ink.

Look out for the tattoo tents at the Padang and Zone 1 and get inked by our team of temporary air-brush tattoo artists. There are several race-themed temporary tattoos to choose from, and best of all, they're free for ticket holders. Do check out Brian Olsen's amazing technique of painting iconic personalities using up to six brushes at a time, over at the Marina Stage in Zone 1.

Returning spectator Greg Lynas advises avid shutterbugs to 'use the practice and qualifying sessions to get up close to the barricades in Zone 4 for some good photos - best when the cars aren't going top speed. And take ear plugs for when you're not listening to the commentary.'. And for F1 newbies attending, they should not think that their iPod-type headphones can double up as ear plugs against the noise.

If you prefer to relax under the stars and soak in the electrifying night-race ambience, Lorinda Lee - a mother of three - who has been to the Singapore Grand Prix twice, said: 'My kids and I always make it a point to have a picnic on the Padang on race day. We love lying on the grass, catching the action on the big screens and hearing the cars zoom by.'

From Straits Times, "Tips to make most out of Singapore Grand Prix" (Part 1 & 2).

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