The Middle East And Sports Investments
In the last few decades, the world has seen a shift in global economic power towards the Middle East, with oil contributing to a large proportion of the revenues earnt by Arabian countries. This rise in spending power in the Middle East has had great effects in the world of sports; Qatar and Abu Dhabi have pumped in ginormous sums of money into European Football, the UAE has attracted cricket tournaments of the highest level and Saudi Arabia has recently brought great sporting events to its kingdom.
A new market for motorsport emerges
Perhaps the most eye catching of all these investments for those interested in motoring and more particularly motorsport, is the construction of four world class permanent racing facilities which are the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, the Dubai Autodrome and the most renowned of them all, the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabhi.
Ever since the Middle East turned into a land of riches, its interest in motorsport has been as evident as their surreal development. In 2004, Bahrain became the first Arab country to host Formula One and five years later, the UAE followed them up with the inaugural Abu Dhabhi GP in 2009. Since then, these two races have been mainstays on the Formula One calendar.
Although the pinnacle of motorsport has been visiting these countries for so long, along with other top motorsport series, no single seater racing driver from the Middle East has truly made an impact on the motorsport world and has shown that the motorsport culture has been truly imbibed in the Arab countries. No one, until now.
The start of a new era?
At the post-race Formula E test following the inaugural Ad-Diriyah ePrix, a new chapter begun in the history books of Arabian motorsport as a female racing prodigy from the UAE sent positive shockwaves across the motorsport world by testing the Envision Virgin Racing Formula E Gen 2 racecar at the brand new Ad-Diriyah street circuit. That female racing prodigy is none other than eighteen year-old Emirati driver, Amna Al Qubaisi.
Amna, who is remarkably still a teenager, is the daughter of accomplished sportscar driver Khaled Al Qubaisi, who was the first driver from the UAE to compete and take a podium in the 24 Hours Of Le Mans and win a race in the FIA WEC Championship. Under the tutelage of her highly experienced father, Amna won the prestigious UAE Rotax Max Challenge in 2017, becoming the first ever Arabic woman to do so in the process.
Her downright speed and determination to improve race after race helped her move up the ranks and compete in the Italian F4 series in 2018 along with earning a remarkable sponsorship deal with Kaspersky Lab, a cybersecurity company who is actively involved in global motorsport.
Moreover, Amna Al Qubaisi is one of the fifty five qualifiers to have been selected for the groundbreaking female-only W Series and being merely eighteen years of age, she holds the key to a very bright future in the motorsport world.
However, Amna’s importance is more than just being a consistent and quick points scoring driver for the team she competes for; in a world where females are taking centre stage in every sport, including motor racing, she has a major role to play.
Triumph for Amna could put UAE and the entire Middle East on the motorsport map in the driver market. She is the most prominent single-seater racing driver from the region and her success could rapidly accelerate the growth of motorsport in the Arabian countries. Normally, when a driver from a country lacking great motorsport tradition succeeds in his or her racing career, the passion for the sport spreads like wildfire in the driver’s home country. This makes the country a big potential market for sponsors and that brings big motorsport series and facilities to the country.
This scenario is different in Amna’s case; the facilities and the events are already in place as a consequence of the immense wealth of the region but the local drivers are yet to take full advantage of the same and break out on the international motorsport scene. Amna is that driver who can potentially start the trend of the younger audiences in the Middle East choosing the demanding, yet incredibly satisfying career path of being racing drivers, regardless of their gender.
Why you must look forward to see Amna Al Qubaisi progress
Apart from being a living embodiment of the fact that women can achieve great things in sports, Amna is also the leading light of motorsport drivers in the UAE along with her father, Khaled and the history-making Formula E test with Envision Virgin Racing was simply a representation of the same. Should Amna fulfill her enormous potential and market herself very well to become a recognizable figure and a brand both locally and globally, she can be the catalyst of the development of future motorsport talent in the Middle East.
That is exactly what makes her a truly notable driver who could take Emirati motorsport to the next level; that is exactly what could make Amna Al Qubaisi arguably the most important person in the history of Emirati motorsport.
Follow Amna Al Qubaisi on:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amna.alqubaisi.50
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amnalqubaisi_official
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Amna_Alqubaisii
- Envision Virgin Racing: https://www.envisionvirginracing.com
- Kaspersky Lab: www.kaspersky.com
- Formula E: https://www.fiaformulae.com
- FiA: https://www.fia.com
Women in Motorsport: