The Fast Track to Sporting Success: India Unveils First Ever F1 Course
Beyond the game of cricket, India is not typically the country that comes to mind when you think of global sporting events. But after hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the emerging superpower looks to cement a place alongside competitor China on the world stage of sports by unveiling its first F1 track on Tuesday.
The track, The Buddh International Circuit, cost an estimated $400 million USD and covers 875 acres. According to reports, the expected fastest lap time is under 1 minute 27 seconds with average speeds crossing 210 kmph (130 mph). India’s first F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan was the obvious choice to christen the track and described it as “one of the best in the world”.
The country already has its sights on its inaugural Grand Prix from Oct. 28 – 30, with celebrity names such as Lady Gaga, Metallica and Boy George touted to perform at the opening ceremony. With this the subcontinent hopes to recover from the underwhelming and scandal-ridden Commonwealth Games and announce itself on the international stage similar to what China did in Beijing with 2008 Olympics.
The Buddh International Circuit was built on the outskirts of Delhi by Jaypee Sports International and so far has been under budget and on time, a rarity for major construction work in that part of the world. The ticket prices for the Grand Prix, however, lend themselves to India’s emerging middle class and elite — the cheapest tickets for the event, now sold out, were priced at Rs 2837 ($57.56).
Regardless of the target audience, the track is yet another feather in India’s cap in a month marked by a continuous competitive streak. From the world’s cheapest tablet to luxury saris, one thing is clear — as the United States and Europe struggle with financial crises, India has every intention of proving it is a force to be reckoned with in the future.
Sabrina Siddiqui is the editor-in-chief of Divanee.com.