Thomson Road Grand Prix circuit
|Time zone||GMT +8|
|Major events||Singapore Grand Prix, Formula Two|
|Length||4.865 km (3.023 mi)|
|Lap record||1:54.9 (Leo Geoghegan, Birrana, 1973)|
The Thomson Road Grand Prix circuit was a former race circuit on Thomson Road encompassing Old Upper Thomson Road in Singapore. It was formerly a racing venue for the Formula Libre & Australian AF2 rules from 1961 to 1973. During the initial years, the main Motorcycle and Car Grand Prix lasted 60 laps, although this was eventually refined into two separate races - a preliminary 20 lap event followed by a 40 lap event. The first Singapore Grand Prix of 1961 was won by Ian Barnwell in an Aston Martin DB3S while the first Singapore Grand Prix of post independent Singapore (also run to Formula Libre rules) saw Lee Han Seng win in a Lotus 22 Lotus-Ford. The final victory went to Vern Schuppan in a March-Ford in 1973.
In 1960, a grand prix was devised as part of the "Visit Singapore – The Orient Year" campaign" to attract tourists to the region. At that time, Singapore lacked a formal racing circuit, and as a result, a new circuit had to be found. The initial suggestion for a street circuit that ran through Thomson, Whitley, Dunearn and Adam Roads was found to be unfeasible due to the massive traffic disruption it would cause to residents. After consideration of other existing circuits, it was decided that a new circuit would be created along the old and new Upper Thomson Road.
The Thomson Road Grand Prix circuit measures 4.865 km or 3.023 miles long per lap and runs in a clockwise direction. The circuit starts with the "Thomson Mile", a mile-long stretch along Upper Thomson Road. Halfway through this stretch of road, there was "The Hump", a right hand turn that caused drivers to lift off the ground if they sped past this bend.
The Thomson Road Grand Prix circuit had many challenging features, including the treacherous "Circus Hairpin" bends and the "Snakes" section. In particular, the "Murder Mile" feature of this track derived its name from the fact that many racing accidents occurred along this stretch. Similarly, "Devil's Bend" got its name because it was the most dangerous part of the circuit.
A total of seven lives were lost due to racing accidents in the 11 years history of the Singapore Grand Prix. Two lives were lost during the last two consecutive editions of the Grand Prix: at the 1972 Grand Prix, Lionel Chan, the nephew of local racing champion Chan Lye Choon, died after falling into a ravine while in the 1973 edition, Swiss competitor Joe Huber died after crashing his car into a cable pole.
Safety concerns was the official reason cited for the cancellation of the 1974 edition of the Grand Prix that heralded the end of Singapore Prix until 2008.
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