The pit lane and team garages at a Grand Prix represent the inner sanctum of Formula One, which explains why they are kept off limits to the public. And why it is the dream of every F1 fan to one day cast an eye over the sacred ground, ask questions, even get involved in tyre changes and developing race strategies.
The BMW Sauber F1 Team ‘Pit Lane Park’ helps to make the dream come true. This unique theme park will celebrate its premiere at the European Grand Prix on the Nurburgring (5th to 7th May 2006). Doors will open for the first time on the evening of Thursday 4th May, with BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen and BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers on hand to get things underway.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Director BMW Central Marketing and Brand Management, said: “The ‘Pit Lane Park’ brings Formula One up close and personal. For BMW it is important to offer as many people as possible a live experience with the BMW brand. Here, the fans can sample all those aspects of F1 that they normally only see and hear from a distance – in real time and at touching distance. This is a truly unique project aimed at giving back something to all those people whose interest underpins our sport. I’m delighted that we can unveil the ‘Pit Lane Park’ for the first time at the Nurburgring, just a stone’s throw away from BMW Erlebniswelt.
And Mario Theissen added: “This theme park allows us to bring the fans right up close to the sport. 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. We are very much looking forward to the premiere of the BMW Sauber F1 Team ‘Pit Lane Park’.”
Spanning around 5,000 square meters, the park is located in zone A7 at the Nurburgring. Admission is free and the park is open to anybody with either a valid ticket for that particular day at the Nurburgring or a BMW vehicle registration document together with the car keys. The theme park can accommodate a maximum of 16,000 visitors per day and is open from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. from Friday to Sunday.
The ‘Pit Lane Park’ measures 120 x 45 metres. A 90-metre-long stretch of track leads into a turning area, which is lined by grandstands. A BMW Sauber F1 Team Formula One race car and the smaller Formula BMW cars will take it in turns to power down the track.
The doors of the garages along the edge of the pit lane are kept open, inviting visitors to come in and look around a reconstruction of the real thing. Inside are a selection of cars, some race-ready, others stripped down into individual parts. Here, the fans can 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. An interactive quiz both tests and improves the visitors’ Formula One knowledge, while the Pit Stop Challenge is all about showing off your practical skills. In the driving simulator, meanwhile, it’s you against the clock.
Elsewhere, BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers Nick Heidfeld, Jacques Villeneuve and Robert Kubica will be popping by at Speaker’s Corner to answer fans’ questions in person. And in the last garage is the Fan Shop, packed with the team’s merchandise collection.
After the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, the wide-reaching installation will be packed away and reassembled at another five Grand Prix in 2006: Barcelona, Silverstone, Montréal, Monza and Shanghai.