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An island makes F1 history

This weekend, Singapore will flag off its first Formula One race and the motor sport's first night race in its history. We look at the IT roadmap leading up to the race.

Come Friday, Singapore will flag off a weekend of firsts: the country's very first Formula One (F1) race will also be the sport's first night race in its history.

Excitement leading up to the race has been building since last year, as brands and vendors clamored for sponsor spots.

Title sponsor, SingTel, has drummed up excitement for the event with a Web site and reality TV series featuring the local girls who will be accompanying the cars for the race. The telco also brought in life-sized racing simulators.

The tech vendors supporting the event have been meeting the media a lot this week as well--and it is no wonder, with all the high tech equipment involved behind the scenes of this high-tech sport.

From supercomputers to the growing amount of data collected on track that must be pored over by specialist engineers, precision and high-performance computing has become synonymous with F1.

This equipment will be put to the test in front of a fully-packed live audience and an estimated 300 million TV viewers over the globe.

According to the Web site of organizer Singapore GP, all of the grandstand tickets available to the public have been sold out. And the race, being held at night, is expected to attract healthy viewership numbers in Europe--where the sport is popular--because it airs in the afternoon in the region's time zone.

Of the 18 races that will be held during the nine month-long season this year, Singapore's track will be the second-slowest in terms of average speed (with Monaco slower), because of the turns and bends of the street circuit, as well as the unpredictability of the weather and nighttime conditions. This will exert more stress and pressure on the teams and drivers racing.

Whatever the outcome on Sunday, one thing is for sure--this race of "firsts" will go down in history for both F1 and the tiny island of Singapore.