April 28, 2016 12:10
Some 140 drivers will race each other in Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens, Porsches and other supercars at the Asia Festival of Speed in Yeongam, South Jeolla Province in mid-May.
AFOS is in its third year. The first race in 2014 drew just 10,000 spectators, but the 2015 event attracted 13,000 and organizers hope for 20,000 this year.
The ill-fated Korea International Circuit hosted the Formula One Korean Grand Prix from 2010 to 2013, but snowballing losses prompted South Jeolla Province to stop it and replace it with the AFOS race, a purely commercial event.
It has paid off so far. The KIC last year posted its second surplus and is slowly emerging from the shock of losing the Grand Prix.
Hyundai, GM Korea and the Korea Automotive Technology Institute are currently using it as a testing ground, as are tire makers Hankook and Kumho. Smaller racing events are also held there.
As a result, rental profits rose from W3.2 billion in 2014 to W3.6 billion last year and are forecast at W4 billion this year (US$1=W1,150).
Since it costs around W3 billion a year to maintain the circuit, this year will mark the third year the KIC makes ends meet.
The provincial government said the race track is open 280 days of the year.
Provincial officials are hosting other events in order to help reduce the approximately W190 billion in accumulated losses, including a festival prior to AFOS. The festival from May 5 to 14 will give visitors a chance to ride in a supercar.
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