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The Bahrain International Circuit (Arabic: حلبة البحرين الدولية) is a motorsport venue opened in 2004 and used for drag racing, GP2 and an annual Formula One Grand Prixmarker. The 2004 Grand Prix was the first held in the Middle East. Since 2006, Australian V8 Supercar has been raced at the BIC and the V8 races are named as the "Desert 400". 24 Hour endurance races also hosted at BIC.


History

The construction of the Bahrainmarker circuit was a national objective for Bahrain, initiated by the Crown Prince, Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The Crown Prince is the Honorary President of the Bahrain Motor Federation. TRL was asked to build the circuit, headed by Patrick Brogan.

Race organizers were worried that the circuit would not be complete in time for the 2004 Grand Prix and attempted to cancel the event, however Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone refused this request. In the end, the circuit was not quite fully complete, but was good enough for the grand prix to go ahead.

In 2007 the circuit became the first Grand Prix circuit to be awarded the distinguished FIA Institute Centre of Excellence award, given for excellent safety, race marshal, and medical facilities; and for the high standards of technology required to maintain these.

At the 2009 Grand Prix, BIC announced a collaboration with @bahrain to develop land next to the circuit. @bahrain is part of the Mumtalakat group of companies. @Bahrain will dedicate more than 1 million square meters of business, entertainment and educational space with a value in excess of $2bn (BD850million), making it one of the largest investment projects to take place in Bahrain in the past five years.

Construction and design

The circuit was designed by German architect Hermann Tilke, the same architect who designed the Sepang circuitmarker in Malaysiamarker. The circuit cost approximately US $150 million to construct. It has six separate tracks, including a test oval and a drag strip.

The circuit posed a unique problem. Positioned in the middle of a desert, there were worries that sand would blow onto the circuit and disrupt the race. However, organizers were able to keep the sand off the track by spraying an adhesive on the sand around the track.

The surface of the track is made of Graywacke aggregate, shipped to Bahrain from Bayston Hillmarker quarry in Shropshiremarker, Englandmarker. The surface material is highly acclaimed by circuit bosses and Formula 1 drivers for the high level of grip it offers. The same aggregate material is used at the Yas Marina Circuitmarker for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Facilities

Track Distance
Grand Prix track 5.412 km
Inner track 2.55 km
Outer track 3.664 km
Paddock Circuit 3.7 km
Drag Strip 1.2 km
Oval track 2 km
Full Circuit 6.4 km


Series hosted

The Bahrain International Circuit hosts a number of high profile series, including the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series, the GP2 Series, GP2 Asia, Chevrolet Lumina Series, Speedcar Series, Thunder Arabia and Radical.

In the past the circuit has hosted the FIA GT Championship, and a one-off Bahrain Formula 3 Superprix. The first ever Formula BMW World Final took place in Bahrain. Also every year there is the traditional 24 Hours of Bahrain.

Bahrain Grand Prix

The first Bahrain Grand Prix took place on 4 April 2004, making history as the first Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Middle East. Bahrain fought off fierce competition from elsewhere in the region to stage the race, with Egyptmarker, Lebanonmarker and the United Arab Emiratesmarker all hoping for the prestige of hosting a Formula One Grand Prix.

The Bahrain Grand Prix was the third race of the Formula One calendar, apart from the 2006 season, when Bahrain swapped places with the traditional opener, the Australian Grand Prixmarker, which was pushed back to avoid a clash with the Commonwealth Games. In 2009 Bahrain was moved to the fourth race.

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