Light up the night

F1 Racing - - FINISHING STRAIGHT -

Mo­tor rac­ing at night has al­ways been a pretty spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s also noth­ing new, but be­fore Sin­ga­pore came along, night rac­ing was re­served for sportscars and tour­ing cars that had head and tail­lights. Open-wheel ma­chines such as F1 cars are not equipped with such lux­u­ries; they weren’t ever meant to be raced at night.

Older NSW fans will re­call the spec­ta­cle of night rac­ing at the old Oran Park cir­cuit, and the sight of glow­ing red-hot brake discs and the ash of sparks un­der the cars dur­ing hard brak­ing. The state-level night meet­ings were one-day af­fairs: qual­i­fy­ing in the morn­ing, open­wheeler rac­ing in the af­ter­noon, and the sports and tour­ing cars rac­ing after the sun had gone down.

Oran Park’s method of light­ing the track was laugh­ably prim­i­tive, con­sist­ing of lit­tle more than a se­ries of uores­cent tubes mounted on poles. It was a world away from the so­phis­ti­cated lights sys­tem used to­day in Sin­ga­pore, but then it has only been re­cent de­vel­op­ments in light­ing tech­nol­ogy that has al­lowed a race such as this to take place at all.

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