RIYADH: The largest motor show in the Arab world kicked off with more than 100 global automotive brands and plentiful interactive experiences for car and motorsport enthusiasts in the Riyadh desert.
Aiming to emulate the success of the Geneva International Motor Show and those like it in Paris and Frankfurt, the Saudi International Motor Show, Autoville, opened its doors to the public on Saturday to celebrate car culture and motorsports from Jan. 8-14 in Dirab Motor Park, welcoming petrolheads from all over the world.
Top automakers and professional drivers are taking part in the festival, including Saudi professional driver and two-time Guinness World Record breaker Abdulhadi Al-Qahtani, professional drifters Ken Block and Vaughn Gittin, and motocross freestyler Remi Bizouard.
Organized by the Saudi Conventions and Exhibitions General Authority (SCEGA), Autoville markets itself as a “revolutionary and interactive alternative” to the traditional motor show, with seven main zones covering an expanse of 1.7 million square meters.
It also features a live action arena, competitions and a robotics section.
Amjad Shaker, acting CEO of SCEGA, said that Autoville will “unleash the untapped potential” of the Kingdom’s exhibition, conference and entertainment sector. He said that the authority had “pulled out all the stops to ensure a worthy and pioneering event.”
And the Kingdom is no stranger to car culture and motorsports, having recently hosted the penultimate race of Formula One’s last season in Jeddah.
It also celebrated the Jeddah International Motor Show in December last year. Before that, the Riyadh International Car Show was hosted together with the Ferrari Festival, which saw more than 600 cars and the appearance of HAAS F1 Driver Mick Schumacher, son of legendary F1 World champion Michael Schumacher.
Since 2020, the Kingdom has played host to the ongoing Dakar Rally championship, while Diriyah has enjoyed a spot on the Formula E calendar since 2018 and the new electric rally racing championship, Extreme E, officially kicked off in AlUla in April 2020.
This all comes in addition to the 10 international Cars & Coffee events held in the Kingdom since 2012.
Doors to Autoville are open from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and tickets can be bought through the official website at autoville.me.
Car lovers have already taken part in Autoville’s many interactive experiences.
Professional car drifter Chelsea DeNofa showed fans the lines at the event’s Drift School, while US automotive racing company RTR taught attendees some pro skills behind the wheel. The Tokyo Drift drive attracted fans to the arena, where they reenacted scenes from the hit film, while Suzuki also got fans into its Swift model with top professional stunt drivers, who showed them how it is done.
Shaker said that Autoville “enriches the country’s efforts to bolster the national tourism and exhibition industries with massive audience shows that attract experts, motorsport enthusiasts and the general public.”
He added that events like Autoville “add tremendous value” to the Kingdom by drawing in major investors in event management and the automobile industry. He said that these events bring business to local hospitality establishments, including retail, food and entertainment, all of which help make Riyadh one of the world’s best cities — a primary target of Saudi Vision 2030.
The Saudi health ministry is also present at the festival, with a full team ready to provide eligible visitors with their third COVID-19 vaccine. The team will also spread awareness of health measures and ensure that visitors that people adhere to them.