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Durban set to score

2005-12-09 10:04

Sibusiso Mboto

eThekwini Metro Mayor Oleb Mlaba said the A1 Grand Prix - a version of the Formula One Grand Prix - to take place on 29 January would advertise Durban as a premier tourist destination and a major player in hosting high profile sporting events.

"The event will undoubtedly put the city and the province on the map as a major player in hosting high profile sporting events," said Mr Mlaba.

The mayor and top council officials this week inspected the Durban Circuit, which is situated 300 metres from the North Beach coastline and close to the Sun Coast Casino and Entertainment World.

The Durban Circuit, which has nine corners and five straights, is the only street race on the A1 Grand Prix of Nations calendar.

The A1 Grand Prix pits 25 nations against each other for top honours in motor racing.

The city expects over 100 000 racing enthusiasts from all over the world to descend on Durban to watch the race next month.

The costs of staging the Grand Prix - which run at R92 million - have been split among stakeholders.

These include A1 Holdings (R30.7 million) and A1 Team South Africa (R36 million), while local and provincial governments have put in a combined figure of R24.9 million.

While the city expects to generate about R100 million from the event, there is also an expectation of spin-offs totalling millions of Rands for small businesses and the hospitality industry.

A Chinese delegation was also in Durban recently on a fact-finding mission, as they will be hosting the 12th leg of the race in April.

The chairperson of the Sport and Recreation Committee in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, Paulos Ngcobo, said the event would serve as a good basis for exploring the future of motor racing in the province.

"We know that there are a lot of motor racing enthusiasts in both the province and in the country and we are positive that the race will provide a clearer idea of how we [can] expand on such a sport in order to create economic opportunities for many people through sport," he said.


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Inside Wheels24

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