South Korea could join an elite group of nations hosting a Formula One event in 2009, after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed recently with Bernie Ecclestone's company, Formula One Management.

A press statement released today revealed:

"The Memorandum opens up the possibility of hosting a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship for the country which has played host to the Olympics and co-hosted the 2002 World Cup.

"A new facility will be constructed on a 327 acre site reclaimed from the sea at Jin Hae, ten minutes from the major city Busan, which boasts both an international airport and one of the region's largest container ports.

"The project is a joint venture between private business concerns, and has the backing of both the Central Government and that of the local Gyeongnam Provincial Government. The development will be a comprehensive sports resort, comprising hotels and other facilities as well as the race track itself. It will benefit from the existing comprehensive infrastructure and close proximity to Busan, which has a population of 3.9 million.

"Plans are underway to continue the highly successful International Formula 3 Korea Super Prix, the year-end season closer which is now in its fifth year, up to 2009 when the country hopes to host its first F1 event.

"In addition, the new Sang Am street circuit will host a round of Champ Cars in October 2004.

"Domestic motorsport is also developing quickly in Korea, a major automobile manufacturer, with three circuits currently in use and two under construction. Over 40 domestic racing events, plus some regional race meetings, are on the calendar for 2004, and the Korean motorsport governing body the Korean Automobile Racing Association (KARA), is implementing a driver development programme to bring youngsters in to the sport.

"The Taebeck and Everland Circuits are currently hosting events on a regular basis, while the Sang Am Stadium Circuit and You Joo Speedpark will be completed next year. Two rallies and various off-road events are also held in South Korea annually.

"As well as Korean drivers, two of whom have competed this year in the inaugural Formula BMW Asia series, KARA is also actively developing its own motorsport officials and marshals. Several Korean youngsters have competed in Formula Renault this year at China's Zhuhai International Circuit."

 

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