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So, since I’ve been for every single installment of the night race, here’s a quick round-up of some small things you can do to make your time at the race track easier and more enjoyable!

1. Dress sensible

No matter where you plan to watch the race from on the circuit, you’re probably going to have to walk a great deal, very often over rather challenging terrain. Sometimes there will be gravel, sometimes grass, sometimes metal grilles and always a crazy crowd trying to get to or away from the track.

Sensible footwear – my number one piece of advise for a bearable trip out to the track.

Wear flats because you’ll quickly regret choosing anything elevated, and dress in light clothing. The route to any section of the track is outdoors, so there is no way to avoid getting hot and sweaty, just on the journey to your seat alone. Ladies, leave those heels at home. And if you really can’t, at least wear wedges so that you’ll have that little bit of extra stability to navigate all them obstacles!

2. Focus on the essentials

Leave the heavy cameras, bottled drinks, umbrellas and all that unnecessary stuff at home. Everything you need is available at or near the track at one of the malls in the area. All you need is CASH – so that you can buy what you need. So make sure you’ve got some of that. Also, make sure to pick up a Survival Kit when you enter the circuit park.

Race weekend must have. Image courtesy of Qing Moments

This costs $2 and contains a poncho and earplugs, both of which you will only realize you really need when it is too late. Even if it doesn’t rain, the poncho makes a great groundsheet for when you’re watching the concerts!

3. Plan your shopping

From experience, race merchandise does go on sale towards the end of the weekend – but only the most ridiculous, XXXXL type sizes. I know they can be pricey, but hey, so are those soccer and basketball jerseys when you buy official merchandise. The show and the shops only come to town once a year, so if you see something you like, get it early, because the Asian friendly sizes normally run out pretty quick.

There will be countless stalls like this one scattered all over the track, selling pretty much the same stuff. If you see something you like, don’t wait it out! Stock for the nice stuff does run out! Image courtesy of Ankur Banajee.

There is also little point checking out all the stalls to find out the most competitively priced one if you already know what you want. Prices are pretty aligned across the stalls, except for sale merchandise.

4. Invest in technology

Because of the sheer noise from the engines, it isn’t always easy to hear the race commentary from the speakers around you, especially if you’ve got earplugs stuffed in your ears. Buy one of those radio headsets – this will give you much clearer race commentary, and you won’t need to miss any of the action if you leave your seat to hit the loo or get another beer. If you’re willing to take it one step further, rent a Kangaroo TV. Its a little portable screen that shows the race as it is seen on TV, with additional options to check laptimes and other cool race telemetry and stats.

I gave Kangaroo TV a try for the first time in 2010 and it CHANGED the way I watched the race. It really is the ultimate fan experience and an absolute godsend if you aren’t seated in front of a big screen. A weekend’s rental will likely set you back upwards of $150, but in exchange, you’ll get unmatched race coverage.

There’s a ton of camera angles, options to follow your preferred drivers, and all sorts of cool stuff you can’t get on the big screen on TV. This is great for a full view of all the race action even if you’re in a seat that is not situated in front of a big screen – and more! If you’re thinking of getting either of these, make sure to do them on the Friday/Saturday so you get maximum usage. Especially for the Kangaroo, which is rented out for the whole weekend – you only return it after the race is over.

5. Eat out

Drinks and food at the circuit are pricey and also far from great. Its gotten better in recent years, but a routine I like to keep is to have all my fun in the circuit park in the late afternoon, and then head out for dinner and the use of a nice air conditioned toilet in the evening, before coming back for the race.

Sukiyaki at Marina Square is one of our favourite things to eat before braving the long walk with the crazy crowd to the grandstands. Least I can have is a whole lot of meat in my tummy first!

Don’t feel like you need to stay in all the way. There’s a ton of great food just minutes away from the gates. In fact, options outside are normally better, more comfortable, and haven’t had their prices jacked up.

Hope these tips are helpful! See you this weekend at the race!

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