Until a few years ago, if you lived in the Gulf and wanted to enjoy the sounds and smells of international motorsport, you had to travel out of the region to Europe or Asia. But not any more.
The Gulf's major destinations now boast world-class racing circuits, two of which hold rounds of the Formula 1 Grand Prix championship, while another hosts the start of the Moto GP championship each year.
© Max Kingsley Jones/Flight International
Bahrain got the F1 ball rolling five years ago, with the Grand Prix circus turning up at the then brand-new Sakhir circuit for the third round of the 2004 championship. The same year, Qatar's new Losail track began hosting Valentino Rossi and his rivals for a round of the Moto GP series.
Dubai's Autodrome circuit has hosted a round of the A1GP single-seater championship and is vying for a place in one of the other global motorsport calendars.
Gulf Air, with James Hogan at the helm, supported the Bahrain race from its inception. Hogan is now at Etihad Airways, so it is perhaps no coincidence that this airline is the partner for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is due to make its F1 debut at the end of this year's championship in November. Etihad, which already sponsors the Ferrari team, has not been slow in promoting the new race on its Airbus fleet.
Described as a "money's no object" project, Abu Dhabi's all-new Yas Marina circuit is being built on an island not far from the international airport. The 5.6km (3.5-mile) track has been designed by one of motorsport's most renowned circuit architects, Hermann Tilke. The 11-turn track should see top speeds of 320km/h (200mph) and has a waterfront setting that Abu Dhabi promises will rival Monaco, with "plenty of mooring space for the paddock's plethora of yachts".
The only dark cloud on the horizon is that the circuit is still being constructed, amid rumours that it may be touch and go whether it is completed in time.