Warm Hockenheim welcome awaits 21 Jul 2006
Next weekend Formula One racing heads to Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix and preparations are already well underway. Ticket sales have soared following Michael Schumacher's victory at Magny-Cours and the race looks set to be another hotly-contested battle between the Ferrari star and championship leader Fernando Alonso. But in addition to the racing, organizers also have plenty of off-track excitement planned for attending fans.
One of the highlights will be free bus rides around the famous circuit on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Ex-Formula One driver Hans Joachim Stuck and Jordan racer come GP2 star Timo Glock will accompany passengers to provide an insight into how best to complete a flying lap.
As well as gaining insider track knowledge, fans will be able to get a closer look at the team garages during Thursday afternoons free pit walkabout. Up to 3,000 race goers (three-day pass holders) will get the opportunity to wander round the pits, have a peek at the pit wall stands, where the likes of Jean Todt and Flavio Briatore set the strategies for their star drivers, and maybe even bump into some famous faces.
And for those whose race weekend is incomplete without a full autograph book, several Formula One drivers will be available for signings at meet and greet sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon on the Hockenheimring stage behind the south grandstand.
For younger race goers, German carmakers Porsche and the local Baden Wuerttemberg police unit will be teaming up to host a kids driving school every day from 11am to 6pm. After a brief training session, youngsters will be able to put their newly-acquired knowledge into practice in special Porsche pedal cars. The school will be supervised by professionals from the Porsche Michelin Supercup series and, after completing several laps of the training track, all participants will receive a Porsche kids driving license - undoubtedly the must-have accessory in the school playground on Monday.
For the slightly more mature race goer, a Formula One classic car exhibition will be held every day of the race weekend from 11am to 6pm. Among the cars on show will be an ex-Ayrton Senna Lotus, an ex-Michael Schumacher Benetton and Fernando Alonso's 2005 title-winning Renault.
And the entertainment at Hockenheim wont be confined to daylight hours. Once the sun goes down, events including DJ parties and live acts will make sure the nights are as thrilling as the days for fans staying late or camping at the track.
"After the excitement of the soccer world cup with its parties and vibrating spirit the Mobil 1 German Grand Prix is the next mega event in Germany, explained Georg Seiler, Hockenheims manager. The euphoria of the Formula One fans seems boundless, as if the gigantic spirit of the world cup has jumped over to Hockenheim."
With all the action going on on- and off-track it will be a super race weekend for all the fans coming to Hockenheim, added Bernie Ecclestone.