Double the fans, double the excitement – making Hong Kong the Monaco of Formula E
Organising chief Alan Fang details the long-term plans for Formula E in Hong Kong as he expects it to only get bigger
The inaugural staging of the HKT Hong Kong E-Prix was heralded as a roaring success, but organisers still say there were important lessons to be learned along the way.
The first was how to more fully engage the local audience – hence this year saw a lottery style ballot held for entry into the E-Village that sits next to the course.
It was oversubscribed – massively – and the E-Village has been expanded this year, with its focus turned primarily on displays showcasing the E-Car and explaining the whole electric racing concept. There will also be expanded food and drink options beside the track.
For Alan Fang, chief executive officer of race organisers Formula E Racing Hong Kong, the fact the city had never before hosted a top, international level motorsport event meant the learning curve would be steep – and quick.
“We were always confident Hong Kong would take the event to heart,” he says. “If you talk to the drivers and the teams, they couldn’t wait to come back this year, and the international coverage the event received really showcased all that is great about Hong Kong.
“The enthusiasm was there last year, we just didn’t have the capacity to cater for all the fans. That’s why we lobbied for a double-header.
“The fact we’re putting on a double header on December 2 and 3 is a great thing because we are going to double capacity and double the excitement. Hopefully, we will double the amount of people who will come.”
A crowd of more than 41,000 are expected across the two days of racing this year – spread across three grandstands down the course’s 555-metre main straight and set up at Lung Wo Road, Tamar Park and the Hong Kong Observation Wheel.
They will cater for around 14,800 fans – up 7,800 from last year.
Formula E has high hopes for the Hong Kong race, hoping it can establish itself as the Monaco of the Far East. The groundwork has been done, and Fang is looking to the future.
“This is a long-term investment and we know we have to build interest,” says Fang. “We have to build the event so the city feels it owns the event. We see that happening already and the event will only get bigger and bigger.”