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A successful operation

Januaray 9 - 15, 2019

Gulf Weekly Kristian Harrison
By Kristian Harrison

Gulf Weekly A successful operation

The kingdom’s influence as the ‘home of motorsport in the Middle East’ is growing as a Bahrain-based consulting company has been appointed as operators of Kuwait Motor Town.

Mrk1 Consulting, a circuit operating company which has overseen tracks in China, Thailand, Russia, Italy, Austria, Indonesia, Cambodia, India, Canada and the US, was headhunted by Al Amiri Diwan to manage the GCC country’s first track.

Mark Hughes, the founder and managing director of Mrk1 Consulting, said: “This appointment is a real honour for the company and something my team and I are very proud to be a part of.

“We excel in efficient, commercial track operations and the Kuwait Motor Town is an exceptional venue with a wonderful range of facilities. We are delighted to be working so closely with the Amiri Diwan and look forward to helping establish KMT as a leading venue both regionally and globally.”

The Kuwait Motor Town circuit is a state-of-the-art facility located approximately 56km from Kuwait City. Designed by perennial Formula One circuit architect Hermann Tilke, it has been rated as a Grade 1 FIA and Grade A FIM facility, which would potentially allow it to host Formula One and Moto GP events, and also incorporates an NHRA drag strip, CIK karting circuit, FIM MotoX track, FIA World RallyX track, off road driving course and a driver experience centre.

The track, which has five different configurations, is fully-operational with a pit-lane, a permanent 7,000-seater grandstand offering views of 85 per cent of the track, hospitality suites and race control. Temporary grandstands will be added soon and there are plans to build hotels and other recreational facilities at the location.

Mark, who worked at Bahrain International Circuit for many years, is thrilled at being hands-on with the exciting development, and discussed his long-term plans for KMT exclusively with GulfWeekly.

“When we go to a circuit, we try and understand the long term future of it,” he explained. “We go for a fixed period and train local staff to run it, then ultimately walk away with it in safe hands.

“At KMT, we have an agreement for five years, and I have put together an exceptional team consisting of general manager, Steve Vuletta, plus a circuit manager, dragster track manager, ground staff, and plenty more to ensure peak operational running.”

His enthusiasm is matched by Abdulaziz Saud Ishaq, head of financial and administrative affairs at Al Amiri Diwan, who believes that the Bahrain company was the only choice for handling the track.

He said: “Mrk1 Consulting has an extraordinary reputation within the motorsport industry as the best track operators. They are well-known for running the newest and best tracks in the world and to the highest possible international standards.

As the owners of Kuwait Motor Town, Al Amiri Diwan is delighted to partner with Mrk1 Consulting and show the motorsport world we mean business. We want to set new standards in the GCC for track operations.”

The circuit’s first official event will take place later this month, the Porsche World Roadshow, before it plays host to a series of regional races later in the year. Attracting major international championships will be one of the primary goals moving forward.

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