Bahrain Set to Host Motor Sport Business Forum in 2008
The Forum brings together the great and good from the industry and is considered the most important annual event for the global motor sport commercial community. Founder Simon Berger explained the importance of broadening the global reach of the Forum with this additional event: Hosting the event in Bahrain is a significant step forward for the Forum and one we are very excited about. Motor sport provides a unique platform for businesses to build and leverage their products and as the sport continues to grow globally reaching new markets so do the opportunities for companies to get involved.
This is especially relevant to the Middle East where motor sport is gaining more attention and rapidly growing in popularity year on year. Focus is being placed on the sport in the region because businesses are very aware of its global impact and commercial opportunities.
The Motor Sport Business Forum has gained a strong reputation for attracting the leading businessmen in the industry to give presentations at the conference. Past speakers have included FIA President Max Mosley, Honda Racing F1 CEO Nick Fry, BMW Motor Sport Director Mario Theissen , Toyota Motor Sport President John Howett, three times Formula One World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart and the Prodrive Chief Executive David Richards. The Motor Sport Business Forum Middle East 2008 in Bahrain will boast a similar calibre of speakers along with the standard of their presentations and subjects.
As the Home of Motor Sport in the Middle East, Bahrain was the obvious choice for the Motor Sport Business Forum. Since the first Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in 2004 the country has benefited from opportunities in the industry. During the 2006 Formula One race Bahrain benefited from a direct economic impact of US$397 million and the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) was responsible for almost 5% of the countrys GDP. Throughout the Middle East investment in motor sport has covered Formula One teams, Moto GP, FIA sanctioned circuits and the development of new racing series and grass roots motorsport. The presence of the industry touches all the GCC countries with heightened interest in a diverse range of activities that demonstrates commitment and understanding.
Martin Whitaker, CEO of the BIC explained: Motor sport has taken a quantum leap forward in the region and now has an extremely strong commercial presence, with new developments and projects as well as thriving sponsorship and partnership initiatives. Staging the Motor Sport Business Forum here in the Middle East, particularly in Bahrain where the sport and the automotive industry have such a strong foot-hold, is a great opportunity to show businesses based in the region the global possibilities associated with the automotive industry.
The conference will be staged over two days providing exhibition facilities in addition to the conference. It will be held at the Bahrain International Circuit in a state-of-the-art building designed by Herman Tilke in a setting and atmosphere that creates the perfect backdrop for enthusiastic discussion and the development of innovative opportunities in motor sport.
The Chairman of the BIC, Talal Al Zain spoke enthusiastically about bringing the Forum to the Middle East for the first time: The Kingdom of Bahrain is widely considered to be one of the most important financial hubs in the world and since 2004 it has also become the Home of Motor Sport in the Middle East. The BIC has acted as a catalyst to stimulate trade and tourism in Bahrain and has set an example for the region too. Over the last few years the Middle East has reaped rewards from investments in the motor sport industry. Bahrain is pleased to have laid the foundations for this development and we are looking forward to demonstrating the opportunities available to companies within the industry. Hosting the Forum is a perfect way to facilitate this.
The BIC is the only Grand Prix circuit to hold the status of FIA Centre of Excellence and aside from the FIA Formula One World Championship race stages corporate, retail and charitable events year round including four international series; the V8 Supercars Championship Desert 400, International Drag and the Bahrain 24 Hour Race. In addition it promotes and organises a vibrant selection of national and regional race series including the Lumina CVS Middle Eastern Championship, Thunder Arabia and BMW Junior Formula The circuit has previously staged the BMW World Final, GP2, Formula 3 SuperPrix and the FIA GT Championship. It is home to the regions only BMW Performance Center and the leading off-road course Adventure Drive Arabia where the first Hummer Academy outside the United States will shortly be opened.