‘I want the runway’ – Lawrence Yu urges government to build dedicated Formula E track on Kai Tak site
Hong Kong Automobile Association chairman suggests using the public road around the news sports park to stage motor racing events
The man behind Hong Kong’s first Formula E race has called on the government to build a permanent street circuit on the old Kai Tak runway as part of the proposed multimillion-dollar sports parkat the former airport site.
Lawrence Yu Kam-kee, chairman of the Hong Kong Automobile Association, made the request at a brainstorming meeting hosted by Legislative councillor Ma Fung-kwok this week, attended by national associations and government officials.
The meeting was aimed at collecting views from the community on what they wanted for the Kai Tak Sports Park,which is expected to be completed by 2022 if everything goes to plan.
“The government is building the Kai Tak sports park and around the park is a public road,” said Yu, who fulfilled a dream by playing a major role in bringing the HKT Hong Kong Formula E race to the city in October in Central.
“At the meeting, I opened my big mouth and suggested turning that public road into a permanent circuit. We can close it once a year for racing.
“I want the runway,” saidYu.
Shing Fung Road runs along part of the runway while the sports complex is to be built in an area of land just before the runway stretches into the sea.
The sports park will be the largest venue dedicated to sports in Hong Kong, taking up 28 hectares and including a 50,000-seater stadium, public sports ground and indoor arena.
Initial artist impressions do not cater for a racetrack but Yu said a circuit was easy to incorporate because construction had yet to begin.
The Central harbourfront circuit for the inaugural event on October 8-9 runs a clockwise route over around 2kilometres with a straight of 555 metres. The track is being modified to cater to Formula E safety requirements but Yu said Hong Kong could not rely on the Central venue forever.
“The circuit we are now using is not permanent and may be terminated in three to five years,” said Yu. “It would be quite timely if after five years, we can have a permanent circuit at Kai Tak.”
Yu said he had invited experts from the United Kingdom and Hong Kong to come up with possible designs for a circuit.
Ma, who hosted the meeting, independently suggested a car-racing circuit at Kai Tak Sports Park, though he said it may not have to be a permanent facility.
“One of the suggestions I put forward was to consider that when designing the road system, try to make sure there is a provision so the design can be converted into a racing track for car racing, cycling, motor racing and even marathon and other sports which may require a track,” said Ma, whose constituency is sports, performing arts, culture and publication.
“My idea is not to build a permanent track but provide a transport system that can be, when necessary, converted into a racing track, like they have in Macau.”
The government’s Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) is in the midst of a public engagement exercise, from May 20 to July 19, to collect views from the community about the sports park.
With regard to Ma’s meeting, the HAB said it would listen to suggestions.
“We have taken note of the views expressed at the meeting and will take them into account in the planning of the Kai Tak sports park,” said a spokesman for the HAB.