Korea as a nation has taken its first steps into international motor racing, joining A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in an official signing ceremony at the A1GP Shanghai, China yesterday.
Led by seat holder Joshua Kim of Omnibus Investment and supported by entertainment company Good EMG, a Korean KOSDAQ listed company, the creation of A1 Team Korea presents a significant opportunity to develop motorsport in the Asian nation. For the first time, a single-seater race car bearing the white, red and blue flag of Korea will take to the track, competing from the start of season four.
Mr Kim commented: 'Korea has the fifth biggest automobile industry in the world but as a nation, we are not familiar with motorsport so this is my main reason for joining A1GP. Korean people love sport but they do not know about motorsport. Through A1GP, motorsport will become more popular and people will know about the sport, learning through A1GP.'
Speaking at the signing ceremony, A1GP CEO for the Asian region, David Clare said: 'A1GP is going from strength to strength and the addition of A1 Team Korea is yet another example of our phenomenal growth in Asia. From the outset, A1GP has been committed to bringing new countries and fans to the sport and the involvement of Korea is further evidence of our success in this field.
'A1GP is about racing on a level playing field. Now with the introduction of a new chassis and engine from season four, as a result of our partnership with Ferrari, Korea will join the series for this new era on an equal footing, having as strong a chance as any team of being competitive next season. Joining A1GP is a huge step forward for Korean motorsport and any success they experience on the track will be a boost not only for the series but to the overall development of Korea's role in the sport.'
The country and its links with motorsport are well known to current A1GP drivers Adam Carroll, Robbie Kerr and Narain Karthikeyan and former drivers Nicolas Lapierre, Nelson Piquet and Fairuz Fauzy as they have all raced there in the international Formula 3 invitational race round the Changwon street circuit, with Karthikeyan winning the last one in 2003. However, the development of A1 Team Korea marks a significant opportunity for Korean drivers to gain exposure on the international stage.