Like so many NASCAR fans, the United Arab Emirates has gone gaga for auto racing, with two splashy, speed-freak theme parks set to open in 2008. At the $360 million, 115-acre Formula One center in Dubai (www.motorcity.ae), visitors will be ushered into a chrome-tipped fantasyland of giant car parts (three-story-tall intake valves; dashboards as big as a house). Simulator rides, an interactive museum, and F1 memorabilia shops will be scattered around what is planned to be part of the vast Dubailand complex. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is gearing up for the world's first Ferrari-themed amusement center. Its state- of-the-art track will be used for driving lessons as well as racing events and road tests. Also under the hood: thrill rides, condos, boutiques, restaurants, and a luxury hotel "embracing the design ethics of the Ferrari brand." (Does this mean really, really fast room service?) The U.A.E. hopes such projects will boost the nation's chances of hosting a Grand Prix championship. At least changing the oil won't pose a problem.
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