Address: Reem International Circuit , 19629, Saudi Arabia
PH: +966 56 100 0703
Circuit type: Permanent road and oval courses
Reem International Circuit (Arabic: حلبة الريم الدولية) is Saudi Arabia’s only permanent motor racing circuit, nestling in the multi-coloured sand dunes west of the capital Riyadh. The brainchild of one of the country’s most prominent racing drivers, Abdulaziz Al Faisal, the circuit has been home to the Porsche GT3 Middle East Championship in past years but today hosts mainly national events.
This track takes its name from a rare type of deer called Al Reem, which has its natural habitat in the Khubayb Al Reem dunes in which the circuit sits. For those heading out of Riyadh along the dusty, Makkah Highway, the circuit’s eventual arrival on the horizon must be akin to an oasis, though this one contains petrolheads rather than water.
Al Faisal first dreamed of the circuit in 2005, when he returned to Saudi Arabia after graduating from the Formula BMW Academy in Bahrain. His dream was to build his own circuit and, as the son of Prince Turki, the former director general of Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency, he had the necessary connections to make it a reality. His uncle, Bandar, owns part of the land on which Reem is built and came on board as an investor, with the pair employing family friend Raed Abuzinadah to design the new circuit.
Abuzinadah describes himself as "a race driver who happens to also be an architect", though this was to be his first effort at circuit design. He spent two years living on the site planning exactly where everything should be constructed among the dunes.
"My eyes were in tears when I was given the site," he told Middle Eastern news agency The National. "I didn't know where to start because it was such an unbelievable variation of sand dunes. I built a tent and lived here for two years. At night, it would get so dark I couldn't even see my hands, but I would just walk around outside, trying to feel where the main building should be. I would talk to it, saying 'You think you are a tough job, huh? Well, I'm still going to build you'."
And ‘build you’ he did, with a final layout said to be very loosely inspired by the Nürburgring (though presumably the Grand Prix circuit rather than the legendary Nordschleife). Built to FIA Grade 3 standards, the circuit incorporates a 12-turn, 2.36 miles (3.8 km) main course, a drag strip and several shorter circuit variations, including an oval. A separate karting facility is located behind the main paddock
The circuit’s official opening took place on March 5, 2008, with the circuit going on to host the Saudi National Radical Championship, Zain Lotus-Cup Middle East, Mini Cup Saudi Arabia, Porsche GT3 Middle East Championship, Chevrolet Super-Cars Middle East Championship, Saudi Federation Karting Championship and other club racing championships.
Reem International Circuit is located near to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is served by the King Khaled International Airport, which is located about 22 miles (35 km) north of the city and handles both domestic and international flights.
The circuit is located 76 kilometres (47 mi) west of Riyadh on the Makkah Highway. Take Exit 11 and follow the road south to the track.