Nir Barkat preparing for Formula 1 race in Jerusalem 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In a first, Formula 1’s internationally renowned race cars and drivers will
traverse the capital’s streets Thursday through Friday, accompanied by
models designed by the nation’s leading race car engineers.
part of Formula 1’s “Peace Road Show,” will feature world-class cars and drivers
representing Ferrari, Mercedes and Audi – as well as models constructed by
Ben-Gurion University’s student race car team, “Ben- Gurion
“Jerusalem joins other leading cities in the world which hold
motorsports events attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators who contribute
greatly to the city’s economy, tourism and world image,” said Jerusalem Mayor
Nir Barkat, a former race car driver, upon announcing the venture in
“The planned track is beautiful and attractive, combining the Old
City walls and Jerusalem’s unique landscape with one of the most popular sports
in the world,” he added.
However, the costly and ambitious undertaking
has not come without hitting a few road bumps.
Indeed, shortly after
Barkat announced the road show, it was met by heavy opposition from the Finance
Committee and religious members of the City Council, who deemed the city’s NIS
2.5 million expenditure to help finance it “a waste of valuable
“I think there are more important issues that we have to spend
the money on,” said Deputy Mayor David Hadari at the time of the
Hadari’s sentiments were also echoed by Deputy Mayor Pepe
Aflalo and Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox council members.
In a last-minute
bid in late April, Barkat was able to secure the funding from the city after
defending the allocation as a “one-time investment for urban development” that
will benefit future events.
Despite the total cost of the road show
ballooning to nearly NIS 15m. – with most of the funding coming from sponsors –
the mayor said the event will generate “compound interest in return on our
investment,” according to Israel Hayom.
Still, the elite cavalcade –
scheduled to travel from the Cinematheque to the Sultan’s Pool, on to the Tower
of David, through Mamilla Boulevard, past the King David Hotel, on to Liberty
Bell Park, by the Old Train Station, and back to the Cinematheque – will result
in numerous street closures.
“I think it’s great that [the road show] is
coming here, but it’s going to be a major headache for regular drivers like me
to get around,” said a Jerusalem resident, who requested his name not be
“There are always positive and negative things that come with
[events] like this,” he continued. “I’m trying to focus on the positive, but not
looking forward to all the street closings.”
The Peace Road Show will
also feature “Ferrari Challenge” cars that will participate in demo drives,
drift cars with powerful V8 engines, and Grand Prix motorcycles. Chris Pfeiffer
of Germany, one of the world’s most renowned stunt riders, will showcase a
highspeed, daredevil performance.
Additionally, Ben-Gurion University’s
student race car team, “Ben-Gurion Racing” – the country’s only team to enter
the prestigious Formula SAE university competition in Italy – will showcase its
latest models, featuring a student driver.
“We are making history,” said
Barkat at a Saturday press conference. “This is a massive production, the likes
of which Israel has never seen. I invite all Israelis to come and enjoy an
extraordinary experience – an example of the city continuously improving sports
and culture events.”
The Peace Road Show is open and free to the public,
although tickets to a specially built grandstand will be available for a small
Designated roads will be closed to traffic on Thursday from 12:30
p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.