The spectacular launch of the New Ford Mustang at the Burj Khalifa, the raw exhilaration of Formula One action generated by the star-studded Infiniti F1™ Showrun and the palpable public excitement around the region’s first free super-luxury taxi service flagged off an amazing opening week to the Dubai Motor Festival 2014.
The icing on the cake in the opening week of DMF 2014 was the launch of the new Ford Mustang on the 112th floor of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, which came as part of the 50th birthday celebrations of the Mustang that was attended by Bill Ford Jr, the Chairman of the US car maker Ford Motor Company. The event was reminiscent of the launch of the first Mustang in 1965 at the Empire State Building in New York, which was then the world’s tallest building. The launch ceremony was broadcast on huge screens set up near the Dubai Fountain and was followed around the world by motoring enthusiasts via a live feed on YouTube.
Prior to that, thousands of motor enthusiasts lined up along the race track at Skydive Dubai on Wednesday evening (19 November) to watch two of the world’s best drivers – four-time FIA Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel and his Infiniti Red Bull Racing teammate Daniel Ricciardo – put on a dazzling display of speed, artistry and showmanship, as DMF 2014 got into top gear with the Infiniti F1™ Showrun.
Setting the tone for the evening was renowned Emirati stunt biker Shadi Al Dhaheri who delighted the audience with an assortment of jaw-dropping wheelies before the 2011 FIA World Championship winning RB7 race car rolled onto the tracks to a huge roar of applause from the crowd. In a preview of the high-octane action to follow, the RB7 revved its engine to belt out a unique rendition of the UAE National Anthem, and also Happy Birthday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Infiniti.
The two stars of the evening took over from there, and racing enthusiasts couldn’t have asked for a spectacular start to the region’s biggest motoring spectacle as Vettel and Ricciardo took turns on the RB7 and Infiniti’s stunning Q50 Eau Rouge concept to put on a show to remember. With the excitement of the audience permeating the air thicker than the plumes of white smoke and the smell of burned rubber generated by the cars, the F1 superstars paid tribute to the cheering crowds by driving around the venue at the end of the hour-long event.
Unforgettable evening, says Jordanian motor enthusiast
Among the scores of spectators enthralled by the action was Essam Azmi, a Dubai resident and avid motorsport fan. “Frankly, I never imagined I would get to watch a Formula One car in action from such close quarters. And to have Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo at the wheels, that just tops it off. This is an evening I won’t be forgetting in a hurry,” the Jordanian national said.
Event thrills tourists from Finland
Kristiina Mayra, a freelance tourist guide in Dubai who was spotted among the crowd along with a group of business professionals visiting from her native Finland, said: “My guests are in Dubai to attend an exhibition here, and when they came to know about the F1 showrun and that Sebastian Vettel himself would be here, they just dropped all other plans for the evening to make it to this event. The show has turned into one of the highlights of their trip.”
Driving into the spotlight on Friday (21 November) was one of the most keenly anticipated attractions of DMF 2014 – the Supercar Taxi. A first-of-its-kind concept that offers customers free one-way rides within Dubai, the Supercar Taxi has been making headlines ever since it was first announced, and as it finally rolled into the city’s streets with a fleet of 10 show-stopping cars, it was easy to see why, as large crowds made a beeline for the chance enjoy the ride of their lives.
The supercar fleet was pressed into service at Dubai’s popular rmalls and tourism attractions, as well as the arrivals section of Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, delighting shoppers and guests and offering a pleasant surprise to passengers stepping out from the terminal after a tiring flight. The fleet comprises some of the world’s most sought-after cars – including a Ferrari California, Lamborghini Aventador, Rolls-Royce Wraith, Mercedes SLS AMG, Bentley Continental GT, and more.
Visitor from Uganda gets luxurious ride in Supercar Taxi
Anita Kalema, a Ugandan national visiting Dubai, couldn’t hide her excitement as she stepped into the passenger seat of the majestic Rolls-Royce Wraith. “I arrived in Dubai just the other day to visit friends here, and I didn’t realize such a grand welcome awaited me. It’s like the city has rolled out the red carpet for me.”
Indian visitors realises dream of riding in Ferrari
“I had heard about the Supercar Taxi on an Indian radio station last week, so when I landed in Dubai on Thursday for a three-day visit, the first thing I did was to check out the details of the service. I’m a big Ferrari fan, and here I am about to fulfill my long-cherished dream of riding in a Ferrari. It’s unbelievable,” shrieked a beaming Rohan Sachdev.
Those who missed out on the chance to zip around town in one of these dream machines needn’t be disappointed as the Supercar Taxi returns to offer more thrilling rides to residents and visitors on the second and third weekends of Dubai Motor Festival (November 28-29, December 5-6).
Taking place from 19 November to 6 December under the theme ‘Passion on Wheels’, Dubai Motor Festival 2014 is organized by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, DMF forms part of the emirate’s strategy to use festivals and events as a means to drive tourism growth in line with Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020.