Durban 040512 Hand over of the Stadium to Top Gear Pic terry Haywood

Durban is revved up and ready to go. So says MEC of Economic Development and Tourism, Michael Mabuyakhulu and mayor James Nxumalo who were at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Monday to hand over the stadium’s race track to the Top Gear Festival organisers.

The British motoring festival, which is based on the BBC television show Top Gear and features celebrities Richard Hammond, James May, Jeremy Clarkson and the mysterious driver “The Stig” is a global hit.

The show has toured SA several times, but this will be the first time it comes to Durban.

Already 40 000 of the 60 000 tickets for the festival, that will take place on June 16 and 17, have been snapped up and organisers expect the show to be a sell-out.

MEC Mabuyakhulu said the province and Durban would reap massive rewards from the festival.

“We value our partnership with Top Gear,” said Mabuyakhulu. “The festival will give the city access to the 400 million Top Gear viewers worldwide.”

The organisers say the city stands to make almost R59 million from the festival.

“The hospitality and tourism industries will be the main beneficiaries of the event. It is expected that over the course of the Top Gear Festival about 25 000 out-of-town visitors will descend on Durban,” said Mabuyakhulu.

Hosting Top Gear forms part of the city’s plans to position itself as the home of major international events.

“We have an action- packed season full of international sporting events… planned. Next week we will host the rugby match between South Africa and England and the prestigious Top Gear Festival will follow,” said Mayor James Nxumalo.