Motor Racing

Although Hong Kong doesn't have any race circuits, if you are determined to enter motor sport, Hong Kong's neighbouring areas (just an hour's travel away) such as Macau, Shenzhen and Zhuhai can offer international standard race circuits for karts, bikes and cars.

So joining in is easier than you might have thought.

To participate, first you have to know the whys and wherefores about motor racing. Basically this means what type of racing you want to do and where do you want to do it. The most popular types of motor race for Hong Kong competitors are kart racing and circuit racing, as rallying had lost its shine here since the HK-Beijing Rally was dropped a few years ago.

In circuit racing there are two very distinctive types of competition for drivers - the Touring Cars and the Formula Cars. Race cars for the touring Classes are vehicles modified from mass produced, road going, passenger cars while Formula cars are designed strictly for competition use only as they are open wheel cars with only one seat in the centre, in fact they don't look like a car to some people. Both of these categories of racecars can be seen competing regularly at the Zhuhai International Circuit - only an hour's ferry away from Hong Kong. For karting there is an indoor karting mall, at the old Kai Tak airport, which offers electric karts for rental, but for the true enthusiasts, the kart track on Taipa Island in Macau (again by one hour ferry) and the Shenzhen Honey Lake kart track (10 minutes taxi ride from the Lo Wo Border) are the ones for you.

So what type of racing would suit you? In terms of cost, karting offers the most economical choice. An entry-level race kart costs about HK$ 20,000 while the running cost for a race should under HK$ 3,000.

Though a kart should be wallet friendly to run it is not easy to master. The two stoke engine is very powerful but the lack of torque, and without the help of a gear box as it is direct drive, means that the driver really has to develop a smooth driving style to maximize grip from the tyres to maintain the very important corner apex, and therefore higher exit speed which dictates the speed down the straight. The benefits from starting the sport in karting can be seen in the current and 4 times F1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher, as well as the rising new F1 star, the young Kimi Raikkonen, as they both started karting not too long after they learnt to walk¡K So you better hurry.

Driving a Formula Car is quite similar to racing karts except you have extra work to do with the clutch and the gear lever. But if you have not tried karting before then you may need a bit more time to adapt to this new experience. Formula Cars, especially the junior type for novices, is not particularly powerful. Their top speeds on most sections of the track may not be able to match other types of race cars but thanks to their light weight and basic design they can always better the lap times set by cars with more than double the horsepower. There are two professional motor racing companies based in the Zhuhai International Circuit who offer complete "arrive & drive" packages for Formula Cars. The cost for competing in one of the Formula Car club race events held by the circuit ranges from under HK$ 20,000 to about HK$ 40,000 depending on the model and the service level.

Mass produced saloon cars can be modified to become racecars for both circuit racing and rallying. This type of racecars not only looks similar to our everyday cars the driving experience is pretty much the same, plus it is a lot less physically demanding. For these reasons saloon car racing is the most popular race type for Hong Kong competitors. The drawback to saloon car racing is that you have to organise your own operation, from finding the supporting crew and preparing the car for the race, to where and how the team will eat and sleep. It's all part of the fun if you enjoy it and a nightmare if you don't.

The cost of buying a racer varies a lot depending on how serious you are, from under HK$20,000 to buy a second hand Group N racer to spending a million dollars on the latest Super Production winner¡K

If you are interested and want to have further information, please contact the Motorsport Department at 3583-3618.