History of Singapore Grand Prix

2009 Singapore Grand Prix - Sunday

F1 Singapore Grand Prix 2009 came to an end on Sunday (27/09/2009) after 61 laps of the Marina Bay Street Circuit with Lewis Hamilton emerging the winner for McLaren-Mercedes. It was his 12th victory of his career.

The race had became part of the F1 calendar since 2008 and was the very first Formula One’s night race. However did any of you actually knew that prior to this race becoming part of the Formula One calendar,  the Singapore Grand Prix was already in Singapore in the early 1960s to the early 1970s?

Singapore Grand Prix in the earlier days We had our first grand prix in 1961 and it proved to be an extremely popular event. By the late 60s it was estimated that over a hundred thousand spectators attended the grand prix.

The grand prix was held in the Thomson Road circuit. This 3 mile circuit covered the stretch of Old Upper Thomson Road from Sembawang Hills Circus to the other end where it met Upper Thomson Road and continued along this road until it reached Sembawang Hills Circus again. This bend was called “The Hairpin” or “Circus Hairpin”. It was here that one driver was killed when his car overturned. Altogether 7 fatalities were recorded, which also involved road marshals. The race was discontinued from 1974 onwards, in part due to the problems of managing the increased traffic and fatalities involved. The Thomson Road circuit was reputed to be one of the most dangerous tracks in the world.

A friend’s father told me that back then, the Grand stand seats cost $5 a day and for this you had the privilege of sitting on wooden benches elevated above the ground and under cover which sheltered the spectators from the sun and rain.

There were two favourite spots among spectators along the Old Upper Thomson Road stretch which were the Snakes’ Bend and the sharp V-shape Devil’s Bend. Many accidents happened at these notorious bends which account for their popularity with the spectators! To see the skills of the drivers expertly maneuvering these bends were simply a joy to watch.

Singapore_1961_GP

There were several categories of races for motorcycles, saloon cars, vintage cars, sports cars and the main Gran Prix event for motorcycles and racing cars. The highlight of the 4 day event, was the Formula 2 Grand Prix race which sees overseas participants hailing from all over the globe.

My friend’s father recounted the fond memories of being at such races and seeing the tired but happy faces of each spectators that were filled with excitement at the end of each day events. Thousands of spectators will stream out of the front entrance at the Upper Thomson Road end of Sembawang Hills Circus. For the locals of Sembawang Hills Estate it was only short walk home. Lucky them..

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2 Responses to “History of Singapore Grand Prix”

  1. aloysiouswong Says:

    wow thks for the comment 🙂

  2. I don’t know If I said it already but …Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

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