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Divine assistance for night race

SINGAPORE — The Marina Bay Street Circuit is a hive of activity as the final pieces are put in place to prepare for the sixth edition of the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix that gets under way next Friday.

Leaders representing Singapore's 10 faiths bless the Marina Bay track on Sept 12, 2013, ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, which gets underway on Sept 20, 2013. Photo: Wee Teck Hian

Leaders representing Singapore's 10 faiths bless the Marina Bay track on Sept 12, 2013, ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, which gets underway on Sept 20, 2013. Photo: Wee Teck Hian

SINGAPORE — The Marina Bay Street Circuit is a hive of activity as the final pieces are put in place to prepare for the sixth edition of the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix that gets under way next Friday.

For Singapore GP Deputy Chairman Colin Syn, nothing is more paramount than making sure the 5.073km circuit is safe for drivers and their teams, racing officials and the more than 80,000 fans who will attend the event.

Concrete barriers, metal fencing and other infrastructure have all served the race here well, and though the last five editions of Formula 1’s iconic night race have had several crashes, there have been no serious injuries.

But Syn is not one who takes chances and has always sought divine assistance as well. Yesterday, he continued the tradition he started in 2008, inviting leaders representing Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, the Baha’i faith, Jainism and Zoroastrianism to bless the track.

“Let us not tempt fate, we want to do our utmost to ensure a successful event,” said Syn. “Safety is paramount and we want to pray for the security of all involved in the race, and also for good weather for sure.”

Local driver Yuey Tan, who will drive in the support race Porsche Carrera Cup Asia for the fifth year running, is not aware of the tradition but is happy the track is blessed before the first engine is turned on each year.

“As drivers, we need all the help we can get in such a high-risk sport,” said 31-year-old Tan, a Christian.

“The beautiful thing about motor sports is that many different people from various ethnic groups love the game and racers of different faiths also hail from around the world.”

Apart from the racing track, the faith representatives also blessed the medical centre and the TriSpan Lifestyle Area, a new feature at the circuit park next to Turn 1.

The TriSpan is a massive marquee that features a bar, interactive game stations including F1 simulator cars, and acts put up by England’s circus theatre company Incandescence within a 1,450 sq m area.

It is one of several new hospitality add-ons at the Marina Bay Circuit, including the Marina Pit Lifestyle Area with three restaurants near the pit grandstand, that Singapore GP is introducing for the fans to have a better experience during the race weekend. ADELENE WONG

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