The former Sembawang Hills Circus was the site of the Grand Prix, a competitive motor racing event of in the 1960s. Singapore's first Grand Prix took place in 1961 along Upper Thompson Road, going on to the former Sembawang Hills Circus and Old Upper Thompson Road and finally exiting at Sembawang Road, in 1961. The Grand Prix was intended to boost Singapore's tourism and raise the country’s profile. The event was organised by Singapore Motor Club (SMC) and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture.
The Sembawang Hills Circus at that time was one of the more challenging parts of the circuit. It was called the "Circus Hairpin" where many accidents and even some deaths took place. In 1962, the competition was renamed "Malaysia Grand Prix" until after Singapore's independence in 1966, when it was named "Singapore Grand Prix". This event was so popular that it attracted both the locals and foreigners (especially after it was added to the World Motor Racing calendar in 1963) and even some of the top drivers from Asia and Australia. Due to increasing numbers of deaths arising from this event and rising concerns about reckless driving, the last Grand Prix was held in 1973.