Motor circuit for Pattaya to help drive local economy
Local politician Sonthaya Khunpleum recently announced he and his business partners plan to invest around 1.2 billion baht to build what they claim will be a world-class motor racing circuit near Pattaya, as well as the infrastructure support facilities to service the course.
Although Pattaya already boasts the Bira International Racing Circuit, Sonthaya Khunpleum believes his planned track and facilities would add further strength to Pattaya as a hub for motorsports in the Southeast Asian region. He believes it would allow more important motorsport events to come to Pattaya, thereby adding income to the local area.
At the present moment a suitable site has not yet been officially announced, with the finalisation for this due to be settled in the next few months. An area between Sri Racha district and Khao Mai Kaew in Banglamung district is expected to be the location for the track.
The current plan calls for the construction of a 4.5-kilometre racing track as well as attendant go-kart tracks, a motor racing academy and a 60-room hotel. The entire project, once started, it expected to be finished by 2017.
The circuit will be built to Federation Internationale de l’Automobile Grade 2 standard, which allows it to host almost any major motoring event apart from Formula One races.
Sonthaya Khunpleum is one of the organisers of the popular annual Bang Sean Speed Festival, which has grown year on year in popularity over the last eight years. In 2014, it drew around 400,000 spectators and generated about 1.4 billion baht in revenue for the Bang Saen district. It also attracts some of the top racing teams and drivers in Asia, including the likes of Formula BMW Asia and Formula Renault.
The Bang Saen event has gained traction over the years and is now considered one of the premier street motorsport events in Asia, competing alongside the long-established Macau street racing circuit.
The Bang Saen event is organized by Racing Spirit Company, owned by Mr Sonthaya. The company also organizes major motorsport events such as the Thailand Super Series, which features a series of races conducted at venues around the country.
A second major motor racing circuit in Pattaya would prove a major boost for the overall tourist economy as motorsport fans tend to be have high spending power and once the events they have come to witness are completed, will almost certainly spend some time doing further travelling within the local region as well as the rest of Thailand.