(MENAFN Press) Sharjah, 05th February 2013
The Middle East is fast becoming a significant focal point for the motorsport industry and an increasing number of international players are looking at entering the market in a big way.
Ever since Bahrain became Formula One's first Middle Eastern circuit in 2004, the region has come under global limelight, and the latest racing giant exploring the possibilities of entering the regional market is the world's largest auto racing organization, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) of the US.
The NHRA is the governing body that sets rules in drag racing and host events all over the United States and Canada. With tens of thousands of drivers in its rosters, the NHRA is considered one of the largest motorsports sanctioning bodies in the world.
At a meeting held recently at the Las Vegas Speedway Motor Park, a UAE team led by Sheikh Marwan Bin Rashid Al Mualla, President of the Emirates Motorsport Federation (EMSF), held talks with top NHRA executives, including Graham White, Vice-President and Head of Operations.
The UAE team included Ahmed Shareef, Director of EMSF, Tamer Hussain, General Manager at Emirates Motorplex, Saeed Al Marzouqi, President of Top Speed Performance, Rashid Al Jabiri, President of SubZero, and Roman Gavrilin, Show Manager of Middle East Motor Tuning Show.
Sheikh Marwan highlighted the fact that safety is a major issue in the region and measures are needed to promote and upgrade safety standards of racing events in the UAE and the region in order to contribute to a safe and entertaining environment for both drivers and audience.
The meeting assumes significance since it comes at a time when the GCC is getting ready to host the first regional drag racing championship in January next year, after the successful organization of Formula One events in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in the recent past.
"During the meeting, NHRA gave enough indications that it is looking at extending its presence in the Middle East, aimed at bringing international quality and safety standards to racing circuits in the region, besides organizing major events over here," said Mr Roman Gavrilin.
"Sheikh Marwan requested the NHRA management to visit the Emirates Motorplex facility and to raise awareness on the necessity of adopting proper safety measures and how to prepare race vehicles through organizing educational programmes. It was welcomed by the NHRA management," Mr Roman Gavrilin added.
The NHRA management was also invited to take part in the upcoming MotorSport Conference that will be held in March next year alongside the Middle East Motor Tuning Show.
During the visit, Sheikh Marwan also met UAE Pro Mod Champion 2011 Khalid Rashid Al Beloushi, the Emirati who took just 22 races to win his first Top Fuel class in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing event, the top level of drag racing in the world.