Spectacular surroundings, grand race ... but no home driver again for Hong Kong ePrix
Hong Kong’s top drivers, Adderly Fong and Darryl O’Young, will give the December motor racing extravaganza at Central Harbourfront another miss
The Hong Kong ePrix has been touted by drivers and officials as one of the best cities in the world to host a Formula E leg but despite having all the hallmarks of another potentially high-voltage race, it’s still lacking one important element – a home driver for fans to cheer for.
For the second year running, no Hong Kong driver will feature in the motor racing extravaganza on December 2 and 3 at the Central Harbourfront.
Hong Kong’s leading drivers, Adderly Fong Cheun-yue and Darryl O’Young, would have been exciting additions to the double header race event, comprising 20 world-class drivers from 10 international teams. And competing in the innovative street racing series with Hong Kong’s iconic skyline and Victoria Harbour serving as the backdrop would be enough to whet the appetite of any driver.
But Fong and O’Young won’t be able to join the fray again, meaning there will be no Hong Kong interest as far as competitors are concerned.
Fong, who is competing in the Pirelli Challenge [for GT cars] and the China GT Championship, said it would be difficult to race in the Formula E series. He explained a Hong Kong driver would have to race a full season in Formula E to have any chance to feature in the Hong Kong ePrix.
“It’s the same as last year,” said Fong who races for Bentley Team Absolute. “Teams and drivers value points from the [Formula E] championship. Allowing another driver to do a race, means that the [guest] driver will accrue points, and not the main season driver. Therefore a Hong Kong driver would have to have the support to join a team for a full season which is not an easy task at hand,” he said.
O’Young took a spin in an electric car at last year’s inaugural Hong Kong ePrix during an eight-lap trial run and he will be on the sidelines again in 2017.
“No, I won’t be competing in Formula E, it’s not really a category I compete in,” said O’Young, who competes in the Blancpain GT Series Asia for Craft-Bamboo Racing.
“Last year, I did participate there with Detroit Electric [car manufacturer] just to demonstrate their electric car. I found it really interesting. The circuit is smaller but it’s very special to be able to drive there in Hong Kong and especially in Central, which is something you don’t get to try every day.
“As a race driver who competes in GT cars and of course the Macau Grand Prix and other events, it’s a very different kind of racing. Electric is something I want to experience and get a chance to race one day especially since there seems to be more categories opening up – maybe electric GT cars in the future.
Always happy to support Hong Kong's FIA Formula E event! It's amazing for the HK streets to host an international... https://t.co/9rAnjf4UX0
— Darryl O'Young 歐陽若曦 (@DarrylOYoung) August 2, 2017
“For now, it’s something that’s not available for me to race but I’m definitely attending all the activities to help promote the Hong Kong race.
“It’s overall really good for the sport and good for motor sport to have a strong international event. Formula E is growing each year and to have Hong Kong host this event is tremendous because it really allows Hong Kong people to experience motor sport first hand and to be up and close to the race. “Hopefully, I can give some insight to Hong Kong race fans and show them what racing is all about and maybe show how electric cars are different [from other categories].
“Overall, it’s just a positive thing for Hong Kong motor sport. Motorsport is all about long term and not short term. Maybe in five or 10 years, fans will be really passionate about Formula E.”