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International | Spotlight on Lombok

On the lush island of Lombok, The Mandalika – Asia’s first purpose-built resort – is set to become Indonesia’s premier race destination, housing the country’s first MotoGP™ track. Scheduled to open in phases leading up to its inaugural MotoGP™ 2021 race, 21st on the international MotoGP™ calendar, The Mandalika will also be providing travelers a mix of luxury accommodation and a multitude of destination activities.

The Mandalika is operated by the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the country’s lauded destination developer, well recognized for creating Bali’s fashionable The Nusa Dua resort complex now into its 45th year.The future of The Mandalika as a race destination will also involve more than two wheels as the Jakarta central government has given the green light to add Formula One (F1) racing to The Mandalika’s future.

ITDC signed two contracts with Dorna Sports, the exclusive commercial and TV rights holder for ​MotoGP™, the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix​ a​nd​ the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship with the spectacular location of the destination a key factor in the decision to bring the race to Indonesia.

“This project is really exciting for the FIM, Dorna and both the MotoGP™ and WorldSBK paddocks. The fact that a Street Circuit with our safety standards is being designed and built specially for our sport --- for the first time in history --- makes it truly special,” says legendary Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta. “We will work very closely with Mandalika Grand Prix Association (MGPA) to see that all requirements are met in this stunning location.

Stretched over a 16km ribbon of beautiful beachfront, The Mandalika resort is 25 minutes from Lombok International Airport andwill offer travelers a fully integrated destination experience when completed. With up to 16,000 hotel rooms currently planned, along with a convention center, 27-hole golf course, theme park, commercial facilities and retail shops, The Mandalika is set to become one of Indonesia’s prime destinations.

“The idea of a ‘Street Circuit’ is unique, conceptualized in 2016 with our motorsport partner, Roadgrip Motorsports; the challenge was to strike a balance that combines a setting suited for a thrilling and glamorous sport and yet maintain a level of tranquility that comes with a peaceful resort,” says ITDC, CEO, Abdulbar M. Mansoer.  

The 4.32km Mandalika Street Circuit will feature some 18 sinuous turns designed to specific FIA and FIM grading, a first for the motorsport industry that meant rather than converting existing streets to form a racing circuit, the design allowed ITDC to remap the zoning of future real estate properties and proposed streets to allow for the necessary technical specifications that are required by the FIM.

The new circuit is uniquely built within the tourism complex, a track that wends past a variety of hotel accommodation, residential and retail facilities, a solar cell farm and then hooks around “Spectators Hill.” From this vantage point visitors are provided untrammeled views of not only a thrilling race but the port and marina and beyond the Lombok Strait to Bali’s east coast.

The racetrack straightaway is designed to be urban in nature with a covered paddock integrated in an exhibition center and several grandstands seating 50,000 and swath of space for nearly 100,000 standing spectators.

Expectations are high considering MotoGP™ has its largest audience in Indonesia and makes up a significant proportion of the official MotoGP™ social network worldwide and as Southeast Asia’s largest economy, the country is the third largest motorcycle consumer in the world, trailing only behind China and India.

Approximately US$25 million has been spent on key infrastructure projects so far bringing to life The Mandalika. In December 2018 ITDC confirmed further funding from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) amounting to US$248.4 million, the bank’s first tourism related development. On the back of that endorsement further international and countrywide investors have shown keen interest in the destination’s future.  

“Our anchor partner and investor, French-based Vinci Construction Grands Projets (VCGP), will complete the rest of the circuit with the necessary facilities to run the races,” said Mr. Mansoer. “The partnership with VCGP was finalized with the signing of a Master LUDA (Land Utilization Development Agreement) in 2018, which sees VCGP committing a total investment of around US$1 billion over the coming 15 years for the Entertainment District.” Final funding to complete the entire infrastructure packages over the next 10-years, according to Mr. Mansoer, will be US$89 million proposed from Indonesia Exim Bank.

“When completed we expect the destination and race events will be well supported by local, regional and international motorsport fans as well of course as travelers seeking an all new experience, with or without races in mind,” says Mr. Mansoer.

The Mandalika partners and investors are fully committed to keeping the hotel and destination sustainable. “We want to be perceived, in equal measure, for our relaxing beachside tranquility, as an exciting Motosports destination, and for our approach to tourism that respects both local people and the traveler, the cultural heritage of Lombok and the sensitive land and sea environment,” says Mr. Mansoer.

Mr. Ezpeleta agrees the partnership has a solid shared vision: “Dorna’s long-term vision is to improve sustainability across all its operations, essentially reducing carbon emissions generated by the infrastructure and logistical demands of MotoGP and we do this in part by partnering with the best such as ENEL, BMW and Scania.”

ITDC and its partners are eager to point out that the future of the Motorsport industry is aiming towards electric races, with World RX E, Formula E and Hybrid Racing becoming more and more popular. Dorna Sports SL will launch their first MotoE Series in 2019. ITDC says the quiet Formula E events will be well suited to the tranquility of the resort environment, but no less exciting. According to Max Oxley of MotorSport magazine the fastest electric race bikes make well over 200 horsepower and could already beat a MotoGP™ bike over a single lap.