Luxury and motors have always gone hand in hand and one of the fruits of this happy marriage is the Yas Marina circuit, one of Abu Dhabi’s top tourist attractions, easily accessible by day from Dubai.
Located on an artificial island that is home to five-star hotels, award-winning restaurants, golf courses, a huge concert arena and a marina for billionaire yachts, the circuit was built to perfectly suit local standards… or rather, to cost a fortune and to stand out from all the other Formula One circuits in the world. It is unanimously considered one of the most technologically advanced Formula One circuits.
Its track hosts internationally renowned motorsport events – first and foremost the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – as well as amateur competitions and training sessions. For tourists, it represents a unique opportunity to enter an exclusive world of roaring engines, challenges, thrills and mind-boggling figures.
A must-see for all motor racing enthusiasts, the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi deserves to be on the must-see list of anyone visiting the United Arab Emirates. How many more times in your life can you go as fast as a champion?
As you might easily expect from an attraction in a city that has made super-luxury its hallmark, Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina is a record-breaking circuit.
It currently boasts the longest straight in the F1 world championship (1.173 km) and is the only circuit in the world with no less than five covered grandstands. It has a capacity of more than 60,000 spectators, almost double that of the Imola circuit, and can accommodate more than 200,000 people inside.
The total length of the circuit is 5.55 km, which can be divided into two independent tracks of 3.15 and 2.36 km respectively, and take on other configurations.
The Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, or more simply Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, is the most important sporting event held at the Yas Marina Circuit. It is the two Formula 1 world championship races held in the Middle East (the other being the Bahrain Grand Prix).
It was first held in 2009; since then, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been held every year in November as the last race of the championship.
The peculiarity of this Grand Prix is that it is a half-day and half-night race. The start time is set at 5 p.m. local time, which means that the race starts while there is still daylight and finishes after dark. It is currently the only night race in the F1 world championship.
Your holidays in the UAE do not coincide with the dates of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix? Don’t worry, even without Formula 1 drivers a visit to the Yas Marina circuit is a guarantee of great excitement: for one day you can live the dream of speed and luxury.
There are many things you can do even when the F1 champions are racing elsewhere, and some of them can without exaggeration be described as unrepeatable experiences. Don’t miss out!
An experience within everyone’s reach, both in terms of wallet and courage, is the guided tour of the Yas Marina circuit. The full tour lasts two hours and is a real must for all motoring enthusiasts.
On board a comfortable, air-conditioned bus, you can admire the landmarks of this avant-garde temple of motor racing, including:
You will be accompanied by an expert guide who will tell you about the technical aspects of organising a race, behind-the-scenes secrets, anecdotes and curiosities.
Before leaving the circuit you can take a picture of yourself on the podium holding a race trophy and dream of being the number one driver, the fastest and the unbeatable!
Sitting behind the wheel of a champion car, starting the engine, hearing it roar and then whizzing along at unimaginable speeds in your everyday experience as a city driver – how many times have you dreamt of that!
Stop dreaming and have an authentic driving experience at the Yas Marina Circuit. What would you like to drive? An Aston Martin GT4, a Formula Yas 3000, a Caterham Seven, a Mercedes AMG GTC or a Ferrari 458 GT? They are all at your disposal!
The Driving Experience at the Yas Marina circuit begins with a training session with a qualified instructor who will show you how the car’s controls work and give you tips to improve your driving technique.
After a technical briefing with a racing coach you will drive around the circuit like a real professional driver for 15 or 20 minutes. At the end of your ride you will be given feedback on your performance.
The price is not cheap – from just over a hundred to over a thousand euros depending on the car and the duration of your Driving Experience – but consider it an excellent investment. With the powerful racing cars on the Yas Marina circuit, it takes only a handful of seconds to go from 0 to 100 kmh, but the adrenaline rush you will experience in this very short time will remain etched in your memory for a lifetime.
Friends and family can watch and cheer you on (a ticket is charged for accompanying persons).
Driving a car at supersonic speed is not for everyone: it takes concentration, lucidity and cold blood. If you don’t feel like getting behind the wheel of a high-performance car, but want to experience the thrill of being in a car going over 200 mph on one of the most beautiful race tracks in the world, you can take a passenger ride around the circuit in a racing car.
Climb aboard the car and fasten your seatbelt: the professional driving instructor will drive the car for you. Without having to worry about “how to” you can experience the thrill of acceleration, braking and cornering on the hairpin bends of the track.
Among the dizzying cars you can get into are the Chevrolet Camaro, the Aston Martin GT4, the Mercedes AMG E-63, the Mercedes AMG GTC, a Yas Radical Supersport and the Caterham Seven.
The ultimate family-friendly activity at Yas Marina is the go-kart track, with circuits and cars suitable for children, teenagers and adults. The Yas Kartzone is a state-of-the-art 1 k track with 3 configurations, perfect for a dynamic day of fun.
Born as a motor racing circuit, the Yas Marina can be considered an exceptional open-air sports facility also used by those who move with their legs rather than sitting behind the wheel.
From 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. – except on race and practice days – the Formula 1 circuit is transformed into the superlative TrainAM™ training track of the Abu Dhabi Cycling Club. The speed is well under 300 km/h, but launching one’s bike on the hairpin bends of this circuit is an experience that every road bike enthusiast would certainly want to try. Another sport that can be practised on the circuit is running.
The Yas Marina circuit is also the final stage of the Daman Challenge TriYAS™, a prestigious triathlon race that has already reached its tenth edition.
From downtown Adu Dhabi, you can easily reach the Yas Marina circuit in about half an hour.
If you have rented a car, you can take advantage of the park&ride service available with shuttles departing from Shahama, Marina Malla and Zayed Sports City; if you prefer to reach the circuit by car, you will need a parking pass (ask your hotel for information).
Abu Dhabi Airport is only 15 minutes away from the circuit and is connected by a shuttle bus, unfortunately only running on Sundays.
Hop On Hop Off tour buses make stops in the vicinity of Ferrari World, which is just over 2 km from the circuit.
If you are staying in Dubai rather than Abu Dhabi, allow a little more than an hour to drive there. Another option is to join a one-day Abu Dhabi city tour that includes a visit to the circuit.
The Yas Marina circuit is located on Yas Island, an artificial island about 25 km from the centre of Abu Dhabi and 110 km from the centre of Dubai to the northeast. The island covers an area of 25 square kilometres.