Incheon to host world's racing club with Lamborghini and Williams
By Kim Tae-jong
A five-kilometer motor racing track and affiliated leisure facilities will be constructed in Incheon by 2016, exclusively targeting Asia’s young super-rich, who will enjoy various motor sports there.
London-based investment firm Weingrow Partners said Tuesday that it will build the “world’s first exclusive lifestyle and racing club” on Yeongjong Island off Incheon, close to Incheon International Airport, in collaboration with Italy’s supercar maker Automobili Lamborghini and England’s Formula One team and engineering firm Williams. It aims at completing the facilities by 2016.
“Korea is right in the middle of the supercar market in North East Asia. The proximity to the market in the region is the main reason we chose Korea for the location of this project,” Akis Stark, managing director from Weingrow Partners, said during a news conference at the Westin Chosun Seoul.
But not everyone would be welcomed to use the facility, as it is only available for “selected” customers.
“We will be selecting our potential customers. At this stage, we will not openly market it. We will invite customers and review whether they are suitable to become members. There will be quite strict criteria,” he said.
Stark said there are about 73,000 supercar owners in North East Asia, who are potential customers, and they are within a four-hour flight from Incheon.
The basic concept is that members will have an opportunity to race the latest F1 and other road and racing cars provided by Weingrow’s strategic partners ― Williams and Lamborghini. Members can also enjoy other luxury leisure activities, handled by other partners.
For the project, Weingrow will construct a five-kilometer FIA Grande 1 racetrack, a seven-star hotel with 220 rooms, restaurants and bars, conference facilities and driving training center.
Stark said the budget for the project will not exceed $1 billion with the money being raised from partners and investors, refusing to elaborate more on the fundraising process and to name investors.
“They are the best possible fit in each category, and with their support we have created a unique concept of racing and lifestyle,” he said.
Alex Burns, CEO of Williams and Fintan Knight, commercial director of Autombili Lamborghini, also joined the news conference, as representatives from the main partners in the project. EDG Korea, and entertainment destination developer will be the project coordinator.
“The Asia Pacific Region has become a pillar of stability for Lamborghini and our commitment to the project in Incheon only reaffirms our long-term plans for the region,” Knight said.
The central government and the city of Incheon are supportive of the project, expecting that it could boost the nation’s brand image and growth in tourism.
“Korea will be a place where people from all over the world, beyond Asia, will come to have fun and enjoy themselves,” said Lee Charm, president of the Korea Tourism Organization, who also attended the conference. “For that, I think we need a lot of infrastructure. We also need a luxury leisure culture. When I first heard about Weingrow’s project, I thought it would be an iconic place.”