The Singapore Grand Prix is held later this year. However, this is not the first race in Singapore. Far from it, and in fact, the island state has been host to motor racing for many years. There was a race meeting held on the airstrip at Changi in 1957. The meeting was held in aid of the Soldiers, Sailors Air Force Association, a charitable body helping ex-servicemen. It was quite an event for post-war Singapore.
The first Grand Prix in Singapore was held in 1961. It was called the Malaysian Grand Prix and the name was changed to the Singapore Grand Prix from 1966 after Singapore attained its independence in 1965.
The circuit was a road course, just like the 2019 course will be, and the first Grand Prix in 1961 was won by Ian Barnwell in an Aston Martin DB3S while the first Singapore Grand Prix of post independence Singapore (also run to Formula Libre rules) saw Lee Han Seng win in a Lotus 22 Lotus-Ford, and the final race in the series was won by Aussie Vern Schuppan in a March-Ford in 1973.
The event was discontinued after 1973 for a variety of reasons, including an increase in traffic and the consequent inconvenience of having to close roads for the event, and fatal accidents during the 1972 and 1973 races were producing a public outcry.
Against that background, we now have today’s Singapore Grand Prix, now part of the F1 circus. As spelled out a few months ago, the timing of the night event means it can be broadcast at a convenient time for European TV audiences. According to the F1 Singapore Grand Prix website, the start time of the race will be 8 p.m. local time.