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BMW Sauber announce pit lane theme park 07 Apr 2006

Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.06 makes a pit stop.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, 19 March 2006

Race fans will able to sample life in the Formula One pit lane at next month’s European Grand Prix thanks to a new initiative launched by BMW Sauber. The team’s ‘Pit Lane Park’ will replicate the team’s actual garage and pit area, allowing the public to get up close and personal with both the cars and drivers.

The special theme park, which is scheduled to appear at a total of six races this season, will feature a 90-metre-long stretch of track leading into a turning area lined by garages and grandstands. A BMW Sauber Formula One car and smaller Formula BMW cars will take turns to power down the track.

The garage doors will be kept open, inviting visitors to come in and look around a reconstruction of the real thing. Inside will be a selection of cars, some race-ready, others stripped down into individual parts. Here, the fans will be able to compare the weight of a Formula One part with its series production equivalent, or slip into some race overalls and have photos taken in the cockpit.

A ‘Pit Stop Challenge’ will allow the public to test their tyre-changing skills, while a driving simulator will provide the chance to race against the clock. BMW Sauber drivers Nick Heidfeld, Jacques Villeneuve and Robert Kubica will also be stopping by at the park’s ‘Speaker's Corner’ to answer fans' questions in person.

"This theme park allows us to bring the fans right up close to the sport,” said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. “That's why we've paid a great deal of attention to authenticity and interaction. You could call it a high-tech adventure park. The fans have told us that they want to get closer to the action, find out more information and experience the sport for themselves. What they're after is an experience to tell their friends and family about, to take home a souvenir or a photo which they can show everybody. And we've come up with some totally new ideas to give the fans what they want.”

The park, which will be able to handle 16,000 visitors per day, will open its doors for the first time on the evening of Thursday May 4 at the Nurburgring. It will then be open from 10am to 6pm every day of the European Grand Prix meeting. After that the installation will be packed away and reassembled at another five Grands Prix in 2006: Barcelona, Silverstone, Montreal, Monza and Shanghai.