Night Light: Illuminating the Singapore GP night race

Racing fans were excited at the announcement that Singapore would join the 2008 Formula One calendar as the series' first night race. But it's one thing to make the announcement, quite another to actually pull it off.

Lighting up a road circuit in the middle of a bustling city is not like lighting up an outdoor stadium or even an oval speedway. The track snakes along over three miles through downtown Singapore, and needs to be lit up enough to provide sufficient visibility for the drivers, spectators and television cameras, all the while minimizing glare off potentially wet surfaces. To execute the illumination, the organizers turned to Italian lighting specialists Valerio Maioli SpA, who worked up a custom lighting system just for the Singapore Grand Prix.

The system devised for the event will consist of some 1600 lighting projectors, hanging in clusters 10 meters above the surface on 240 steel pilings placed 32 meters apart from each other around the circuit and connected by over 100,000 meters of cable. The system will draw 3.18 Megawatts of electricity from 12 pairs of generators encased in sound-proof containers, each with its own engineer on standby in case anything should go wrong. Although the run-off areas will be illuminated as well, the lighting will be dimmer than the track surface to avoid confusion for the drivers. That's a pretty impressive system, which all in all will be four times brighter than the lighting in an ordinary stadium.


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