TICKET sales for the 2013 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix have nearly doubled compared to the same time last year, according to Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) chief executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Shaikh Salman explained that the increase in sales can be attributed to the positive response to BIC's Early Bird promotion, which ran from December to the end of January.
The promotion offered a 15 per cent discount on all tickets to the Formula One race weekend plus a chance to win valuable raffle prizes each week, plus a grand prize of a Mini Cooper JCW at the end of the promotion period.
"Ticket sales have been very good," Shaikh Salman told the GDN yesterday on the sidelines of a Press conference held to announce BIC's plans for the highly anticipated event, which takes place April 19 to 21.
"Our target in the Early Bird was to sell double the tickets compared to the same promotion last year; this year, we ended just short of doubling," Shaikh Salman explained.
"We have definitely sold a lot more tickets at this point than last year, so this is a very good sign."
Shaikh Salman is hopeful that this year's turnout to the three-day race weekend exceeds that of last year, which saw a massive crowd of 70,000 people attend.
With the growing popularity of Formula One and the rapidly developing motorsport culture both in Bahrain and the rest of the Middle East, BIC could also come close to matching its 2010 record of 100,000 fans at the circuit for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Shaikh Salman and Gulf Air acting chief executive officer Maher Salman Al Musallam were the main speakers at yesterday's Press conference.
On his part, Al Musallam commented: "Since its beginning in 2004, the race has become one of the region's most prestigious sporting events.
"The 2013 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is expected to draw thousands of fans from across the Middle East and the international community, allowing the kingdom to reap the associated economic benefits.
"The Gulf Air-Formula One sponsorship agreement has also paid great dividends in firmly establishing the Kingdom of Bahrain on the global map as the 'Home of Motorsport in the Middle East', as well as raising the airline's image as the sports ambassador of the country."
Aside from Formula One, the GP2 Series will also be in action in Bahrain during the Grand Prix weekend.
Meanwhile, all sorts of off-the-track entertainment can also be enjoyed by the whole family on all three days. Such festivities will take place at BIC's Formula One Village located behind the Main Grandstand, and all sorts of fun activities will be on hand.
Shaikh Salman added that a major international concert will also be held as part of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, details of which will be announced soon.
Tickets to the Bahrain Grand Prix can be purchased for all three days of the race weekend or for Race Day alone. All three-day ticket holders get exclusive bonuses not available to single-day passes, such as a Pit Lane walk for a chance to get up close to the teams right before they begin racing.
Tickets can be purchased for the various grandstands strategically located around BIC, including the Main Grandstand, the Turn One Grandstand, the University Grandstand, the Batelco Grandstand, and the Victory Grandstand.
A Friday roaming ticket can also be purchased for those looking to experience all the vantage points of the track, while tickets can also be bought for the Gulf Air Club lounge where you can watch the race in a luxury tent.
Tickets are currently being sold at the BIC stands in Bahrain City Centre and Seef Mall, or at the BIC Welcome Centre located at the circuit entrance. They can also be bought online at bahraingp.com or by calling the BIC Hotline on +973-17-450000.