Yeongam on Track to Host Successful Second F1 GP

      September 16, 2011 11:16

      Korea will stage its second Formula One Grand Prix from Oct. 14-16 in Yeongam, South Jeolla Province, as the 16th of the season's 19 GPs.

      Spectators should be treated to a tantalizing duel between Spaniard Fernando Alonso, last year's winner here, and Germany's Sebastian Vettel, who is dominating the track this season after becoming the youngest-ever winner of the F1 championship last year.

      Red Bull driver Vettel has racked up 8 wins from 13 races so far this season and finished runner-up four times. With 284 points, he has built a comfortable lead over the current runner-up, Ferrari's Alonso, who has 172.

      On average, 4 million people come to watch F1 races each year as well as a TV audience of 600 million. The Korean race consists of 55 laps over a 5.615-km circuit that has 18 turns.

      Yeongam is busy preparing for the race, with special attention being paid to solving the traffic problems and accommodation shortages that marred the event last year. Organizers have issued assurances that there will be more than enough hotels for the 69,000 visitors who are expected to arrive in the town.

      A 15.2-km road that connects the West Coast highway and Mokpo-Gwangyang expressway will be open just before the race, allowing visitors to drive directly to the venue without having to navigate Mokpo's busy downtown.

      Because this road was not available last year, most of the 530 shuttle buses did not arrive at the track on time. This year, 650 shuttle buses will transport visitors to and from the parking lot and the race venue using the newly-built road.

      One of the sticking points for race organizers is making sure enough tickets are sold, as sales remain lackluster with less than one month to go. As such, the price of the cheapest ticket has been lowered to W87,000 (US$1=W1,115). But it is possible to pay as little as half this sum due to a number of ongoing discount schemes.

      Meanwhile, the capacity of parking facilities has been expanded to accommodate 23,000 cars, and service facilities have been reinforced.

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