Written for the Gwangju News
On Sunday October 24th of this year, a cacophonous drone emanating from a stretch of tarmac in Yeongam, just south of Gwangju, will chauffer in a new era in Korean spectator sport. The country will join an elite band of 18 others in paying host to a Formula One Grand Prix. It is testament to
The inaugural South Korean Grand Prix will attract a crowd of around 130,000 to the newly built Korea International Circuit and officials have been scrambling to find ways to accommodate the masses due to descend on South Jeolla. Car parks are under construction, hundreds of shuttle buses are to be laid on. This sleepy, rural community is about to get a whole lot louder, but a few days of autumnal madness will undoubtedly bode well for the region’s finances.
F1 has long since been tagged as a rich man’s sport, filled with charmers and playboys like Flavio Briatore ( former Benetton and Renault head honcho, former beau of Heidi Klum and larger than life impresario, now banned from the sport because of his part in the Crashgate scandal in 2008) and Eddie Irvine (straight talking and flamboyant Irishman, former Ferrari driver and once a squeeze of Pamela Anderson). Ticket prices are often condemned for being astronomical, unaffordable by locals in many venues. The South Korean Grand Prix will do well to avoid such criticism. The cheapest come in at around 165,000 Won. For the best seats, you can expect to pay upwards of 1.2 million. The locals may have to be content with a thunderous hum, rattling their windows. But the money invested in the area through tourism will more than make up for the racket.
Unsurprisingly considering it’s the world’s fifth largest producer of cars, this is not the first time
The deal the Korean committee has struck with the governing body will see the country host a Grand Prix every year for the next seven, with an option to extend the deal for another five. The course itself has been compared with another Spanish track, that of
And with the race being number seventeen of nineteen, you can be sure that there won’t be any drivers holding back. After winning the Hungarian GP in Red Bull’s Mark Webber (