Racing fans have a great excuse to visit Spain's Mediterranean coast: Valencia will be hosting Formula One racing again for the third year in a row. Practice rounds begin on June 25, with the main event coursing through the city's streets on June 27.
Even better, four Grand Prix Champions— Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button— will compete. More than 85,000 spectators are expected to watch as the race cars roar past the old river bed of the Turia and the city's impressive harbor- site of the 2007 and 2010 America's Cup - at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.
To transform Valencia's city streets into a Formula One "track," motor racing course designer Hermann Tilke created the 3.4-mile-long circuit with 25 curves snaking along the city's waterfront. The route around Valencia's Juan Carlos I Marina and over the 459-foot-long Swing Bridge connecting the two sides of the harbor has been compared to Monaco circuit. Valencia has already hosted a number of major sporting events including this year's America's Cup, the World Superbike Championship, the IAFF's World Indoor Athletics Championship and the MotoGP World Championship.
Naturally, there are plenty of other things to do in Valencia besides watching the racing. Visitors can tour the old quarter (full of Renaissance and Baroque monuments); the Museo de Bellas Arts with one of Spain's best paintings collection; or IVAM, the contemporary art museum. Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences, with its aquarium, planetarium, science museum and performing arts center, has a new addition— the Agora by Santiago Calatrava. Resembling a knight's helmet, this dramatic steel structure in deep violet was the venue for last year's Valencia Open 500.
Tickets for the three-day weekend event are on sale and range in price from around $61 for Friday to $734 for three days in two of the Grandstands. Some 2,000 fans with a valid ticket for all three days of races can join the "pit walk" on Thursday, June 24. They can visit the pit lane, get up close to the race cars and meet the Formula One drivers. Spectators can also choose to view the race from the water by docking their own yacht in one of the 125 dedicated moorings in the Marina. For information about the event, visit www.valenciastreetcircuit.com/index_eng.html and for further information about the region of Valencia, visit http://en.comunitatvalenciana.com/eng.