As part of our ongoing series documenting the best places to enjoy sport in the UAE throughout the summer, Sport360 takes a tour of the Kartdrome at the Dubai Autodrome.
Autodrome assistant manager David Bright shows us around the indoor karting facility, through the various steps before a race, and introduces us to the new Laser Tag arena!
We will certainly be spending some of these warm summer days down at the Kartdrome.
All 55 cars registered for the 24 Hours of Le Mans have passed the mandatory scrutineering process and, following two free practices on Wednesday, drivers are now all set for the qualifying session on Thursday night.
Part of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the June 14-15 race offers double the points for the top 10 drivers in their respective categories.
The Le Mans P1 category will see Audi R18 e-tron quattros engage in familiar battle with the Toyota TS 040 hybrids, the latter currently leading the championship after having narrowly missed out on the title last year.
Audi have an impressive record at Le Mans, with Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loic Duval claiming the title last year, which was sadly marred by the death of GT driver Allan Simonsen of Denmark.
Toyota Racings car No8, piloted by Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin were beaten into second by one minute and six seconds.
This year also marks the long overdue return of Porsche Team, with Australian former Formula One driver Mark Webber behind the wheel of car No20, a Porsche 919 hybrid.
Sharing driver duties with Webber will be Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, while Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Mark Lieb will drive an identical hybrid in car No14.
And finally, even before the first lap of the 82nd running of the event could get under way, a record has already been set in the French Pays de la Loire region.
Matthew McMurry will be the youngest driver to take the start of the race.
Born on November 24, 1997, he will be 16 years and 202 days when the race starts on June 14, almost a year younger than the current holder of the record, the late Ricardo Rodriguez who in 1959 was 17 years and 126 days old.
American McMurry will share the wheel of a Zytek Z11SN-Nissan No42 of Caterham Racing with Thomas Kimber-Smith and Chris Dyson.
In contrast, the senior-most driver at Le Mans this year will be Howard Blank, driver of the No62 Ferrari 458 Italia, aged 65.
There are some vehicles out there which have an intimate relationship with the Middle East to the extent that they have become part of its history.
One such vehicle is the awesome Nissan Patrol which, since the 1950s, has been part of the UAE’s motoring heritage with some families owning every generation of what has become an iconic SUV.
You’ll see plenty of them on the roads here, including the mid-sized early models which still retain their appeal and arguably look just as good if not better than the massive luxury vehicle the Patrol has now morphed into.
Like me, you will almost certainly have had a close encounter with a Patrol on the Sheikh Zayed Road.
They are vehicles that, more than any other SUV, seem to attract drivers who enjoy seeing how close they can get to your rear bumper without actually hitting you and then dazzle you with a manic display of flashing lights until you get out of the way.
I put this irritating behavior down to the fact that driving this vehicle does give you a sense of superiority.
I was looking forward to trying out the latest version of the Patrol which has had a minor facelift.
There wasn’t much wrong with the old Patrol so the tweaks are mainly cosmetic and include a new front bumper and muscular front chrome grille pattern.
It also has new 20-inch alloy wheels and LED headlamps.
These give the Patrol a slightly more sophisticated and aggressive look which suits it.
The Patrol has a commanding yet classy stance – it is huge, which is why there are grab-handles to help haul yourself aboard.
Once inside you are enveloped by a luxurious interior with lashings of leather and wood.
It is so spacious you could move in with the entire family and live happily ever after with all the comforts of home including independent DVD entertainment systems on 7-inch monitors to keep back seat passengers entertained.
You really do feel like king of the road in this vehicle which literally opens up new horizons.
You are so elevated that scenery you never knew existed is revealed and cars I once considered large seem to shrink in the presence of the Patrol.
I didn’t take it off-road but the Patrol’s reputation as an extremely capable vehicle in difficult terrain speaks for itself.
Its on-road performance is also mighty.
It is very comfortable, powerful and stuffed with all the driver assist technology you could want for normal driving and taking on the challenges of off-road with modes for sand, on-road, rock and snow.
The infotainment system, operated via an 8-inch touch-screen, is impressive and comprehensive.
We had the Patrol LE Platinum VVEL DIG model.
VVEL stands for Variable Valve Event and Lift, which is basically valve timing technology which makes the engine more efficient and responsive.
DIG is simply Direct Injection Gasoline.
It is powered by a 5.6 litre V8 engine with 400bhp and 560nm of torque, delivering power to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox which also had a manual mode.
The handling is excellent for something this big and you quickly become accustomed and almost addicted to its size, the panoramic view it provides, and the confidence it gives you on and off-road.
You feel indestructible.
More than 14,000 Nissan Patrols were sold between January and September last year across the Gulf region, a 41 per cent increase on the same period in 2012.
Expect the success story to continue this year because the latest Patrol remains hugely impressive, literally.
Why Buy It
Nissan Patrol Le Platinum – Specifications
Manufacturer : Nissan
Production : 1951 to present
Class : Luxury SUV
Body style : Up to seven seats
Layout : All wheel drive
Engine : 5.6 litre V8
Transmission : Seven-speed
automatic with manual mode.
Output : 400bhp
Torque : 560nm
0-100km : N/A
Kerb weight : 2,795kg
Top speed : N/A
Price : From Dh305,000
Rating out of 10: 9
Here is the official advert for the Nissan Patrol Le Platinum