The professional racing scene is growing fast in our part of the world. Proof?

Five FIA approved tracks have been built in the region over the past few years:

  • Bahrain International Circuit – the Arab world’s first host to Formula 1
  • Losail International Circuit – Qatar’s Moto GP course (also racecar friendly)
  • Dubai Autodrome – Host of the first 24 hour race in the Middle East
  • Reem International Circuit – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; awarded the FIA Grade 3 license (don’t expect any F1 races to be hosted there)
  • Yas Marina Circuit – Abu Dhabi’s newest addition to our portfolio; host to our second Formula 1 race

Yes my friends, it’s looking quite good on that front. On top of all of this, our governments and their corporations have been purchasing large stakes in various car manufacturers and racing entities from all over the world. Proof?

  • Abu Dhabi firm, Mubadala, owns a percentage of Ferrari
  • Abu Dhabi firm, Aabar, owns a percentage of Daimler (owner of Mercedes)
  • Bahrain firm, Mumtalakat, owns a percentage of McLaren Mercedes
  • Kuwaiti firm, Investment Dar, owns a percentage of Aston Martin
  • Qatar recently purchased a stake in Porsche

And now this: the BMW Sauber F1 team has been brought out by Qadbak Investments LTD, a Swiss-based privately owned company which represents interests of a few Middle Eastern and European families. There has been speculation that the name “Qadbak” stands for Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Kuwait… but that has yet to be confirmed.

So what does all of this mean for us?

  • Greater exposure for young Arab drivers tirelessly searching for ways to move up the racing ladder
  • An increase in corporate involvement translating into accessible funding for driver development
  • A higher probability that racing teams will be forming across the region
  • Racing culture to hopefully move from the streets to the tracks (i.e. events similar to GulfRun)

Arabs (the youth in particular) need discipline when it comes to driving. We have young people dying on the streets day-in day-out at an alarming rate! I’m not saying it isn’t fun to let it rip on public roads, but people need to be aware that when driving recklessly, you’re not only putting your life at risk, but the others around you as well.

Stay tuned! Pun intended.


This post was written by guest blogger El Wehbi, from the automotive blog Brake Banzeen! He’ll be posting on the GulfRun blog twice a week, so stay tuned! To read more of his work, visit