‘top gear’: R4,5-million racetrack at Moses Mabhida to boost hit show’s biggest festival

2012-06-05 00:00

ORGANISERS of the Top Gear Festival yesterday handed over new tracks built inside and around the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban for the event, to take place on June 16 and 17.

It cost R4,5 million — and a lot of good planning — to fit the building of the inside track into the stadium’s schedule of soccer matches during the past three months, said Carlos Esteves, deputy head road system management in eThekwini Municipality.

The stadium track was built on the foundations of the athletics track after the soil and grass were carefully dug up and replanted on adjacent fields.

Quick-dry additives were used to have the tar surface ready in time, which have given the bitumen the colour of cement.

The motoring show is one of the BBC’s biggest-selling programme brands around the world, regularly pulling in a UK audience of eight million viewers on Sunday evenings, while repeat broadcasts have pulled more than 60 million viewers worldwide and spawned a Top Gear Australia and an American version.

Hannah Cabral, director of the Top Gear Festival, said eThekwini would host their biggest programme this year, displaying almost every type of stunt that can be done on wheels by professional racers, celebrities and Top Gear’s “tame racing driver”, the Stig.

In the UK, tickets to attend a live Top Gear recording are awarded on a lottery basis, but Durban visitors will be be able to jump this queue by going to a replica of the Top Gear set to experience live how presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have turned a car programme into one of the BBC’s most entertaining series.

The festival will inject about R59 million into eThekwini and KwaZulu-Natal, said eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo.

The organisers of the Top Gear Festival will host driving classes for matriculants in rural areas surrounding eThekwini and classes for motor technicians in Grade 10. Taxi drivers will get safety hints.

Nxumalo advised fans attending the festival not to become so inspired by the stunts that they would want to emulate the professional drivers on public roads.

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