Ferrari street demo – click to see video
Thousands of action-seeking spectators jammed the cordoned-off street along Doha, Qatar’s scenic Corniche. The January sun was bright and warm despite cool temperatures and a stiff wind.
Children quickly tired whiled parents tried to entertain them. Adults painstakingly selected what they felt would be the most advantageous spot and angle to witness the fast-paced action. Cameras were carefully mounted on tripods and lenses meticulously adjusted. Security marshals positioned every ten feet kept watch over the road.
It was one and a half hours past the advertised start time. Most of us had now been waiting almost three hours, arriving early for a guaranteed good spot. For Qatar’s diehard motorsport fans, they would seemingly wait forever.
Thousands of us – Qataris and expatriates – are here in unison anticipating the thrill of the Scuderia Ferrari live street demonstration. In time, a parade of 25 or so privately-owned Ferraris opened the event as the drivers proudly maneuvered their shiny luxury vehicles around the blacktopped street track.
Test driver Marc Gene was the main event – and he did not disappoint his fan base. The Ferrari’s roar signaled the quickly approaching tiny dot off in the distance. Adrenaline levels shot skyward. Children quickly covered their deafening ears. The Ferrari rocketed down the track.
Adeptly piloting his Scuderia Ferrari Formula One car along the straights of the almost two-mile (3 km) track anchored by sharp roundabouts, Gene displayed his skills to the delight of the crowd. There was plenty of smoke and noise along with near death-defying speeds of nearly 186 miles per hour (300 km per hour). Onlookers cheered enthusiastically on every one of the ten laps as the red racing machine sped past in a blur.
Motorsport has always had a strong fan base in Qatar. Sport authorities here agree that the area is ripe for tapping in to, not only for investment, but also as part of a general development of the sport.
Sponsored by Qatar Shell, the F1 street demonstration was intended to build additional excitement for the upcoming Qatar Motor Show. And based upon the crowd’s reaction: it did just that.
Many a youngster will have dreams to relive and stories to share along with a permanent experience etched into his and her memories for years to come. It was bound to happen.