Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2024

Event Overview

BIC is set to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, as the opening round of the 2024 season and its first-ever Saturday night race at the Home of Motorsport in the Middle East on 29 February to 2 March 2024.

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Due to exceptional demand, we have continued to expand our hospitality offerings. This year, we are delighted to offer The Dome Lounge by F1 Experiences, as well as The Champions Club, both tailor-made in response to the massive interest in hospitality options for the grand prix. In addition, the ultimate in world-class hospitality is available in The Paddock Cub Please note that Corporate boxes for 2024 are now sold out.

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A tribute to Walter Lechner: A visionary of racing in Bahrain and across the world

The Bahrain International Circuit mourns the loss of a visionary of Motorsport in the region; a close friend and partner of the circuit whose impact on racing in Bahrain, the Middle East and Europe is both immeasurable and enduring.

Walter first came to Bahrain in 2005, bringing his eponymous racing team to compete in the Porsche Supercup, a support series for the Formula 1 race that year. He would go on to win the championship that year, together with a further two season victories in 2008 and 2009. On his arrival to Bahrain, he floated the idea of setting up a Porsche Cup for the Middle East, a region which had only just begun its journey into global motorsport. It was a challenge that required incredible effort, perseverance and personal ambition.  Walter was single-handedly responsible for achieving that aim. It swiftly became the platform for the most promising drivers in the region to develop their skills in what is now known as The Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East, which has had its home at the BIC ever since its first race in 2009. As the most prominent one make series for up-and-coming drivers in the Gulf, it is also the longest running regional racing championship in the Gulf and his legacy in Bahrain will always be remembered for his incredible efforts in building this series to what it is today. In the early days of his work in Bahrain, Walter was also instrumental in establishing the Bahrain team in the 24 Hours of Bahrain back in 2006. In fact, Walter was so well prepared for this event, the Bahrain team was the only one to have brought rain tyres with them. It rained for over half of the entire race…

Walter was always passionate about motorsport, dedicating well over forty years of his career to the sport. In 1975, inspired by the Jim Russell Racing School in the UK, he sold his highly successful nightclub business and established the Walter Lechner Racing School, which quickly became a breeding ground for the highest level of motorsport in the world. As a racing school owner and team principal, he developed the skills of Alex Wurtz in Formula Ford, similarly for Rowland Razenburger, both of which went on to become successful F1 drivers. Other notable individuals whose careers were influenced by him were Franz Tost, currently team boss at AlphaTauri, who was one of his instructors and perhaps most notably Toto Wolff, who went on to become the most successful team principal F1 has ever seen.

Whilst best known for his success as a team principal, Walter was a formidable driver in his own right. He won the drivers’ championship in the European Formula Super Vee in 1982, won two titles in the Interserie in 1983 and 1987, which at the time was the second highest sports car category, and also entered Le Mans in 1988.

Walter will be best remembered in Bahrain as a loyal and dedicated friend and an incredibly hard-working colleague. Irrespective of what he was doing, he left nothing to chance, with a phenomenal eye for detail, which drove him to so much success. When in Bahrain, he had a great appreciation of the local culture. At one stage, when the drivers in the GT3 cup were complaining about having to do driver briefings at 8am in a session that they felt to be very boring, he decided to do things differently. He moved the briefings to the evening, set up an Arabic tent outside, filled it with shishas and those driver briefings subsequently went on for many hours.

Walter was born in 1949 and died on 9 December 2020. He is survived by his wife Christine and his sons Robert and Walter Junior, who are both involved in the family business.

The BIC family will continue to support the work of Robert and Walter Junior in protecting and enhancing Walter’s legacy.