Inaugural Formula E success fuels calls for permanent circuit

October 11, 2016 12:16
More than 10,000 spectators turned up for the FIA Formula E HKT Hong Kong ePrix. Photo: Reuters

The successful debut of the FIA Formula E Championship over the weekend has fueled calls for the building of a permanent circuit in Hong Kong.

Lawrence Yu Kam-kee, outgoing chairman of the Hong Kong Automobile Association, told the Hong Kong Economic Journal that the government surely will be happy to see the sporting event held here regularly as it has helped open a new source of tourists for the city.

As such, a designated circuit in another location is a must since the Central harborfront, which was used as the venue for the electric-car racing event, has been reserved for other development purposes.

Yu does not think the organizers made a profit from the race, but it surely has benefited the tourism industry as a whole.

He said a permanent circuit will allow Hong Kong to host the event regularly, while providing a venue for other sports, particularly auto racing.

Organizers of the 2016 FIA Formula E HKT Hong Kong ePrix estimated that more than 10,000 spectators turned up for the event.

Grandstand tickets cost HK$2,380 for adults and HK$1,190 for children and seniors.

Yu said a permanent circuit could be built in the planned Kai Tak Sports Park, although he admitted it might not be easy to get approval from the Environmental Protection Department.

Legislator Yiu Si-wing, who represents the tourism functional constituency, said there is no doubt the inaugural Hong Kong Formula E race is good for enhancing Hong Kong’s image.

Although the tourism industry did not earn much – the government spent HK$20 million on the event – and road closures caused some inconvenience to motorists, Yiu said the experience gained from hosting the race is invaluable.

On the suggestion of building of a permanent race track in the city, he said the government could assess the event’s popularity after several races.

Meanwhile, three men, aged 28 to 42, were arrested Sunday afternoon for allegedly using drones to film the race.

If found guilty, each of them could face a fine of up to HK$5,000 and two years imprisonment, according to a legal expert.

Under the Air Navigation (Hong Kong) Order 1995, no one is allowed to fly a drone in the vicinity of an airport and aircraft landing and take-off paths, including Victoria Harbour, without a permit from the Civil Aviation Department.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal