Psy to Add Excitement to Formula One Korean Grand Prix

The Formula One Korean Grand Prix will kick off on Oct. 12, with the race to be held on the following Sunday. The world's top motor sports festival has already seen fierce competition from the likes of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso of Spain -- the best driver so far this season -- and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton. Thousands of F1 fans are expected to visit the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, South Jeolla Province to see their rivalry from close quarters.

The organizing committee has lowered the ticket prices this year to make the event more accessible to local fans. The cheapest ticket for the preliminaries on Friday costs W10,000, down 46 percent from 2011. Meanwhile, the most expensive "R" ticket on racing day that puts spectators on the main grandstand costs W890,000. This gives visitors the best view of the cars and the paddock, where the screaming machines get their final inspections before the race starts, as well as one of the pit stops.

Those who buy main grandstand or "R" tickets, or any other all-event tickets, will also be able to enjoy a free concert by Psy. The singer, who has risen to international prominence with "Gangnam Style," is a promotional ambassador for the race. He will hold a special concert for F1 fans at 6 p.m. on Oct. 14. For one-day ticket holders, the standing tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

As the F1 Korean Grand Prix makes itself more accessible in its third year, the question now is whether it can attract more than 200,000 spectators. According to the organizers, 160,236 people visited over three days last year, and 165,000 turned up in its inaugural year.

Moreover, the circuit has become more accessible with the full opening of Mokpo Bridge, which was only temporarily opened last year, and more facilities have been built for visitors' convenience. The organizing committee hopes the event will attract a record crowd. If 200,000 fans show up, it would mark the highest attendance figure for a single sporting event in the country's history.

englishnews@chosun.com / Sep. 20, 2012 11:26 KST