With an aim to bring the city and its vast waterfront under the global spotlight, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Maharashtra government is organising an international powerboat race (also known as P1 racing) in the Arabian Sea off the Marine Drive promenade. It is collaborating with a sporting events firm Procam International India.
The event is scheduled to be held from March 3 to March 5, 2017.
“This is the biggest adventure sports on water. The best speedboats from over the world will participate in the race. The racing track will be in the sea off the Marine Drive promenade between the Nariman Point land’s end and Girgaum chowpatty, so that people can gather at the promenade to watch,” a senior official from the state tourism department said.
While Marine Drive will not be entirely closed to traffic during the event because the main action is in the sea, there will be traffic restrictions for a few hours during the event. The event can be viewed from the promenade free of cost, the official said.
The state tourism department, which is coordinating the event, plans to market Mumbai as a tourist destination. All throughout the duration of the race, the government is looking for Mumbai-specific branding opportunities.
“There will be a buoy installed in the water with a graphic depicting Mumbai. The event will also be telecast live across the world, bringing Mumbai and its waterfront, especially Marine Drive, in the spotlight,” the tourism department official said.
Mumbai residents are not new to this kind of powerboat racing event. A similar race was held in 2004 at the same location with 12 international teams. Overall, 23 boats sped around 60 laps in front of lakhs of spectators along the boulevard as well as international television audiences. The event was also accompanied by a display of water acrobatics.
The tourism department is currently in the process of securing clearances and coordinating with multiple agencies such as the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Mumbai Port Trust, the Mumbai police and traffic police for the event.
An official working on the event said, “So far, 19 countries are likely to participate in the event. The number will undoubtedly increase. It is still early days and more countries are likely to confirm their presence.”