Jeffrey F. Barken/JNS.org
Click photo to download. Caption: Formula One Scuderia Ferrari team driver Giancarlo Fisichella drives a Ferrari F60 past The Tower of David and the ancient walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, during the second day of the Jerusalem Formula Peace Road Show, on June 14, 2013. The first-ever two-day Jerusalem Formula Peace Road Show includes Formula One racing teams, Scuderia Ferrari and Marussia, Ferrari Challenge cars, drifting cars and Grand Prix motorcycles all participating in the show, whose circuit passes landmarks such as Jerusalem’s Old City walls.
is something different about taking a ride from Shlomi Bakish. Not only can he
get from Haifa to Tel Aviv in half the time, but passengers also don’t feel the
road. The car accelerates without strain. Unlike many Israeli drivers, Bakish
doesn’t express rage when a slower car cuts him off. He sees his opportunity
and easily passes on the right. It’s as though he’s driving in a race.
the past decade, talented Israeli drivers like Bakish were stranded in traffic
by an unpopular law regulating motorsports. But new regulations approved in
March 2011 by the Knesset’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee have opened
doors for enthusiasts of Formula racing—which encompasses several forms of
open-wheeled, single-seat racecar driving including Formula Renault, Formula
One, Formula Two, Formula Three, and World Series by Renault—to get back in the
driver’s seat. The Jewish state’s first Formula One road show, which took place
in mid-June, attracted 100,000 spectators.
Israel developers Boaz Meiri and Ofir Frank, instructors at the renowned Zig
Zag driving school in France, and remarkably “driven” students form the unique
Israeli motorsports team.
When the Israeli motorsports
law was lifted, Meiri and Frank saw an opportunity not only to build Israel’s
first professional racetrack in the Port of Eilat, but also to experiment, and
to democratize the Formula racing establishment. They are striving to make
Formula racing affordable and accessible to the Israeli public.
“Traditionally, you have to
be very rich and well licensed to drive in the Formula,” Meiri tells JNS.org.
As racetrack construction
began in Eilat, Meiri and Frank organized a new method for recruiting and
training drivers. Their efforts have created a pioneer racing culture in Israel
that is likely to inspire similar programs around the world.
idea is drivers driving,” Frank tells JNS.org.
“We want to give enthusiasts who have the talent to race competitively but who
don’t have the money to participate in the sport the rare opportunity to drive
a real race car.”