Middle East now a key center of motorsport, says McLaren's Brown – RACER

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McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says that the Middle East should now be considered in the same group as the likes of the U.S and the UK when it comes to motorsport powerhouse regions following two decades of rapid expansion.
Brown pointed to his own team’s Bahrain ownership and importance of the region for partners and sponsors for legitimizing its importance for the motorsport industry as a whole.
“On the Formula 1 schedule, we’ve got four grands prix in the region, and then when I talk to business leader and our partners, they talk about how important the region is to them,” Brown said. “I think it’s great that it all kind of started in Bahrain, which of course is the owner of McLaren Racing, with the first grand prix in the region and the first racing team in the region, so I think we’re already a very important market for the fans, the racing teams, for the sport, and for our sponsors.”
A key player at the moment is Saudi Arabia, which as well as hosting the second and third rounds of the Formula E season, the Dakar Rally at the start of this year, the inaugural E1 electric powerboat race, this week’s Extreme E opener and a Formula 1 grand prix all in the space of nine weeks. But His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al Faisal, president of the Saudi Arabia automobile and motorcycle federation reiterated previous comments that the country isn’t just about hosting events, and wants to increase its motorsport presence further in the coming years.
“A lot of things are happening in Saudi, and there are a lot of things that we’ve done,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a place in the world that hosts all these events, and still we haven’t finished our infrastructure.
“When (a planned purpose-built motorsport facility in) Qiddiya opens, that’s going to take us to a different level. And all the plans that we have for the grassroots that will transform our participation in motorsports — the potential in Saudi Arabia is very big.
“We’re halfway; we’ve achieved a lot of things in terms of hosting events so now we need to discover and give the new generation the platform so they can shine and rise and succeed and also take us to the next level. We have lots of boys and girls in Saudi that are very ambitious, very committed, and very talented and by hosting Formula E and other events, they’ve been inspired.”
, Industry, International Racing
Dominik often jokes that he was born in the wrong country – a lover of NASCAR and IndyCar, he covered both in a past life as a junior at Autosport in the UK, but he’s spent most of his career to date covering the sliding and flying antics of the U.S.’ interpretation of rallycross. Rather fitting for a man that says he likes “seeing cars do what they’re not supposed to do”, previously worked for a car stunt show, and once even rolled a rally car with Travis Pastrana. He was also comprehensively beaten in a kart race by Sebastien Loeb once, but who hasn’t been?

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