By Samuel Ee
SINGAPORE - Economic uncertainty or not, tickets for the Singapore Grand Prix 2012 are selling out faster than in previous years.
Thanks to its stronger branding, the fifth instalment of the Formula One race in the Republic saw 50 per cent of its general tickets sold by end-May, with the three-day Zone 4 Walkabout tickets, Turn 1 Grandstand and Turn 1 Combination tickets sold out.
Last year, these tickets were only completely sold in mid-August by race promoter Singapore GP.
To date, 95 per cent of this year's targeted sales have already been achieved, according to a Singapore GP spokeswoman. She added that last year, this 95 per cent mark was reached on Sept 15.
A new ticket category, the Turn 3 Premium Grandstand, has been especially popular and is now sold out. These seats located at the end of the first set of turns offer an upgraded spectator experience because they include meal, snack and drink vouchers, as well as a goodie bag. Ticket holders to the Turn 3 Premier Grandstand also get access to nicer restroom facilities.
As for the high-end tickets, Singapore GP said all seats at the Paddock Club, Sky Suites, Club Suites, and The Green Room have either sold out or are very close to selling out, with fewer than 200 hospitality tickets remaining across the Circuit Park.
"We expect the last few seats to be sold by the race weekend," said the spokeswoman.
As in previous years, 40 per cent of tickets were purchased from overseas, with the top countries being Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and the UK.
"The robust ticket sales can be attributed to many factors, including the strong entertainment line-up for this year," said the spokeswoman.
She added that fans have been buying the Combination Packages to "fully experience what the Circuit Park has to offer, and other three-day tickets to enjoy the racing action as well as the full-length concerts of headliners Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and Jay Chou over the three days".
"The exciting Formula One championship is another draw, with seven different Grand Prix winners from five different teams taking the trophy for the past 13 races," she said.
This is the fifth year that the Singapore race is being held and, thus far, there has been no word on whether there will be another five-year deal. If there is no extension of the hosting rights, the current contract requires Singapore to serve a two-year notice period, which means the last race here could be held in 2014.
But that is unlikely to happen, said one source.
He said: "Since the first race in 2008, F1 has given Singapore a good run and a very strong global image. Because of that, I believe it will carry on for at least five more years."
Get The Business Times for more stories.