20,000 fans to get free tickets to eVillage for this year’s Hong Kong ePrix

Fans can enter the eVillage without charge through a ballot as the city kicks off the new Formula E season in December with double the number of championship races and double the capacity of viewing stands

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 August, 2017, 4:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 August, 2017, 7:42pm

Double the action, double the fun and double the capacity. That’s the motto of this December’s Hong Kong ePrix, which will be raced in the streets of Central for the second year running.

Hot on the heels of last year’s successful inaugural event, organisers are promising an even better and livelier ePrix with a racing double-header – two distinct championship races – on the weekend of December 2 and 3.

The Central Harbourfront will once again host the city’s biggest motorsport event, with 20 world-class drivers from 10 international teams kicking off the new Formula E season.

Hong Kong will again be part of the world’s premier electric street racing series that will open its fourth season in December.

Organisers on Wednesday said they were prepared to open up the eVillage fan zone for free – last year’s tickets cost HK$300 – through registration for a ticket ballot.

Last year, more than 20,000 fans visited the inaugural Hong Kong ePrix. This year, with the expanded eVillage and three grandstands, total capacity for the 2017 Hong Kong ePrix is expected to exceed 41,000 across the event weekend.

Three grandstands will be erected along the track’s 555-metre main straight at Lung Wo Road, at Tamar Park and at the Hong Kong Observation Wheel for an estimated 14,800 fans over the race weekend. Capacity has been increased by 7,800 from last year.

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Alan Fang, chief executive of organisers Formula Electric Racing (Hong Kong), said he was “very excited” the street series will return to the city and that fans will be able to gain access to the eVillage for free this time.

“Anyone with a Hong Kong ID [card] or any tourist with a passport can go to our website and register. We’ll be doing the ballot in October,” said Fang.

“Hopefully, we can get more engagement from the Hong Kong public to come to the races as well.

“We’re pretty sure it will be very popular because last year, even when we were charging, it was sold out.

“We sold quite a number of tickets over two days. Each day there were about 10,000 fans in the eVillage,” he said.

“We had comments that the people going to eVillage didn’t get a view of the track and it costs money [to get in] as well.

“Unfortunately, due to the large number of spectators coming in, it’s difficult to open up all the tracks. It’s not like a circuit track where we actually can leave space between the fence and the audience. So we will keep it that way, but we’ll let them enjoy the eVillage for free.”

Fang said they had taken on board last year’s criticisms of high ticket prices, traffic disruptions and barriers around Central preventing a free view but done so for safety reasons.

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Fang, however, said the 1.86km long track would not be lengthened also because of safety reasons.

“We tried many ways working with all the Hong Kong departments to see how we could lengthen the track. Unfortunately, we couldn’t.

“It’s very difficult to widen the track to four lanes. The circuit will pretty much stay the same but there a few turns and things that the FIA is working on to refine it and make it safer and more competitive.

“We did quite a good job organising the event last year, but obviously there are many places where we can improve and we’re planning to do that this year,” said Fang.

“The space in Hong Kong is limited and to greatly expand the grandstands was also not quite possible. The fact that 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,” he said.

Ali Russell, chief marketing officer of Formula E Holdings, said Hong Kong had the potential to become Formula E’s Monaco, referring to Formula One’s famous street race in Europe.

“The location is spectacular, right on the edge of Victoria Harbour with the skyline. It’s magnificent,” he said.

“Hong Kong has been imperative to the company’s growth and awareness across the world over the past 12 months.

“The inaugural 2016 Hong Kong ePrix opened the world’s eyes to the electric street racing series and the support we have received in Asia has made it a key market for us.”

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Wednesday’s press conference was also attended by drivers Oliver Turvey of NextEV NIO and Techeetah Team’s Jean-Eric Vergne, winner of the Montreal leg of the series last week.

Tickets for the Tamar Park grandstand, offering the event’s premier viewing opportunities, are priced at HK$2,880 for an adult for a single day pass and HK$4,780 for an adult weekend pass. The Lung Wo Road and Observation Wheel Grandstands will retail for HK$2,380 for single-day and HK$4,280 for the weekend pass.

Daily concession tickets for youth (aged 5 to 12) and seniors (65 years and over) will be offered at HK$1,440 for the Tamar Park grandstand and HK$1,190 for the Observation Wheel and Lung Wo Road grandstands.

Full weekend concession prices are HK$2,390 and HK$2,140 for the Tamar Park and Lung Wo Road and Observation Wheel grandstands respectively.