THE Formula 1 racetrack has attracted one of the world's newest sports cars manufacturers to business-friendly Bahrain.
McLaren Automotive announced yesterday that it would open its regional head office here.
All distributor-side management, marketing and support functions for the premium high-performance sports car manufacturer will be managed from the new offices.
The British car company, which was officially launched in March, will also begin sales in 2011 with its first 'pure' McLaren, the MP4-12C.
"We have chosen Bahrain for a number of strong reasons," said McLaren Automotives Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regional director Ian Gorsuch.
"With a Formula One racetrack, an excellent business environment and its close proximity to our major shareholders, Bahrain was the obvious location."
He said the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir had hosted a Formula One Grand Prix for the past seven years and has excellent facilities for performance testing and hosting events.
"Last year, McLaren subjected a 12C prototype to extreme hot-weather testing in the heat, dust and humidity of the Gulf summer," said Mr Gorsuch.
"Testing was conducted at the BIC as well as on the country's desert roads."
He said the competitive cost and ease of setting up in Bahrain in addition to the attractive lifestyle being offered were major factors in the decision.
"On the whole, it was felt that the Bahraini commercial environment was very conducive to doing business," said Mr Gorsuch.
He said with Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company having a 42 per cent stake in McLaren Group as well as a 50pc stake in McLaren Automotive, Bahrain is considered a home away from home by the company.
Mr Gorsuch said that this was a very positive decision by McLaren Automotive.
"We have had close links to Bahrain for some time through our partnership with Mumtalakat, and last year successfully conducted hot-weather testing for the forthcoming 12C here," he said.
"And now we will be able to take further advantage of the number of excellent opportunities that come from establishing an office in Bahrain."
He said McLaren Automotive had a rich heritage in producing premium sports cars for the road.
"The street-legal F1 model, which was launched in 1992, is still regarded as one of the best examples of supercar exotica," said Mr Gorsuch.
"The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, one of the fastest cars on the streets today, is also the most successful supercar ever in its price bracket, with over 2,000 cars sold since its 2003 launch."
He said the McLaren MP4-12C was the first in a range of high performance sports cars from McLaren Automotive and represented 'pure McLaren,' from its unique engineering to its bespoke design where everything is for a reason.
"The 12C and future models within the range, will challenge the world's best sports cars, benefiting from the expertise and virtuosity of the McLaren Group," said Mr Gorsuch.
"It is set to re-write the rules of sports car design through Formula One - inspired engineering, a revolutionary carbon fibre chassis and an absolute focus on efficiency and quality."
He said the 12C was set to be built in the UK at the new McLaren Production Centre in Woking.
"It will go on sale in Europe from spring 2011, followed soon after by the Middle East, where it will take up to 20pc of the 1,000 12Cs built in its first year," said Mr Gorsuch.
The car is expected to be priced at $250,000 (BD94,272).