Imagine all the exotic locals where international motor racing has taken place over the course of modern history and Morocco might not show up on your radar. But back in the era of Casablanca, the North African country, just across the Straight of Gibraltar from Europe, hosted the Moroccan Grand Prix, starting with a touring car race in 1925 and culminating with an F1 grand prix in 1958 won by (spoiler alert!) Stirling Moss. Now, after fifty years have passed, the racing scene is set to return to Morocco for a World Touring Car Championship race in Marrakech.
Instead of using the old Ain-Diab circuit, construction of the new street circuit is scheduled to begin later this month. Race organizers expect to draw a crowd of 100,000 fans when the race kicks off on May 1, 2009, but after the cancellation of the nearby Dakar Rally due to terrorist threats from Al-Qaeda, we would hope that race organizers will take serious security precautions.