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Uber and its Asia rival GrabTaxi offer free supercar rides

With Formula 1 coming to Singapore this weekend, GrabTaxi Singapore lets users ride in style, with seven supercars at their service. Meanwhile, Uber Singapore's supercars will come with free champagne.

Keshav Sishta/GrabTaxi

Tapping into the Formula 1 fever infecting Singapore this weekend, taxi booking company GrabTaxi is giving lucky users in the city hub a chance to be chauffeured around in a supercar.

Unlike a program offered by rival Uber from March through May, GrabTaxi's promotion lets customers ride free, though availability is limited to certain areas within the island state. The offer, which started Tuesday, ends along with the F1 Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday.

Those lucky enough to book a supercar will ride one of seven different models: the Aston Martin DB9 Volante convertible, the Aston Martin DBS Volante convertible, the Maserati GranTurismo, the Maserati Quattroporte Sports GTS, the McLaren MP4-12C, the Porsche C4S 911 Cabriolet or the Porsche Carrera.

But there's a catch. Like Uber's earlier supercar rides, GrabTaxi's vehicles are limited to just one passenger, so Singaporeans hoping to take this as an opportunity to impress a date are out of luck.

Besides giving out luxurious free rides, GrabTaxi is also doing something special for the mid-Autumn festival that's celebrated in some Asian countries, such as Singapore and China. The company is letting its users order mooncakes, a traditional Chinese pastry, during the festival. The cakes themselves will be free, though buyers will have to fork out S$38 ($27) for delivery.

Not to be outdone, Uber Singapore also announced a supercar program keyed to the Grand Prix, but its version will be available only on September 19 and 20, and will come with free champagne as well as the choice of a one-seater or three-seater. Uber users can pick from four different supercars: a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, a Maserati GranTurismo Coupe, a Rolls-Royce Phantom or a Ferrari F430 F1 Spider.

Both Uber and GrabTaxi have been testing different promotions in the country. In July, Uber had drones deliver customers ice cream, while GrabTaxi let users order deliveries of durians, a local delicacy.

Singapore is a hotly contested battleground for transportation booking apps. GrabTaxi was polled last year to be the most popular, beating local taxi giant Comfort-Delgro's app, while US-based Uber came in a distant third for taxi bookings, though that's not Uber's core business.

GrabTaxi focuses mainly on being an app-based taxi-booking service, allowing cab drivers in Singapore to get faster bookings from consumers easily without having to rely on their operators slower booking system. Uber, on the other hand, is focused on the private car space and makes an app that connects riders with drivers who use their own vehicles. The app also includes a taxi-booking service, though.

That said, GrabTaxi launched GrabCar last year -- a similar service to Uber's Black program -- with the intention of competing in Uber's main space. Uber, however, shrugged off the competition, saying in a statement to CNET that the company is a "clear leader in the private-car hailing space in Singapore."

Update, September 17 at 6:22 p.m. Singapore Time: Adds mention of Uber's Grand Prix supercar promotion.