Motoring enthusiasts hail raceway talks as step towards Formula One vision The government's positive response to a proposal to build a car-racing track has been hailed as a breakthrough that would get illegal racers off the road, improve road safety - and perhaps lead to the establishment of a Formula One venue. The Home Affairs Bureau said yesterday it had welcomed a proposal put forward recently by the Automobile Association and was waiting for more details. 'We welcome the proposal primarily. We think the idea would help promote a healthy development of motor sports in Hong Kong,' a spokeswoman said. She said the bureau was waiting for a more detailed proposal and if it seemed viable, would liaise with other government departments on the project. Automobile Association governor Lawrence Yu Kam-kee said it was a breakthrough as calls for a car-racing venue had met a brick wall over the years, with the government viewing motor sport as a 'monster'. He said the idea was to build a 'speed event venue' not only for car racing but also for road safety activities such as driver training. 'It can also be a venue for vehicle manufacturers to test or exhibit their new cars,' Mr Yu said, and would also help clear illegal road racers from public streets. He gave no further details, saying the proposal was still very preliminary. 'Hong Kong may one day have a Formula One circuit if there is an increasing acceptance of car racing among the public,' he said. Association chief executive Andrew Windebank said there were 450 licensed car and motorcycle competitors in Hong Kong - one in every 820 active motorists compared to one in every 1,467 in Britain. A Formula One testing and practice track would cost US$60 million to $80 million, much less than a full circuit, which would require at least $120 million. In September, Shanghai will host the mainland's first Formula One grand prix at its new $240 million circuit, making it the fourth Asian country to host such an event after Malaysia, Bahrain and Japan. Even a basic car-racing track in Hong Kong would boost employment and tourism, Mr Yu said.