Thailand shortlisted for hosting race

News Desk in Bangkok/The Nation

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - Chiruit Israngkun Na Ayuthaya of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, left, Pol Maj-General Lattasanya Piansomparn, adviser to the minister of energy, second right, and Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings, right, jointly announce that Thailand has been selected as a candidate to host the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile's new Formula E Championship next year, which the country hopes would boost gross domestic product and tourism revenue, especially in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry, if its bid is successful.

This motor-racing event will mark the fully electric Formula E car's first appearance in Asia, and would also be held in honour of His Majesty the King's 86th birthday. Formula E Holdings (FEH) plans to roadshow the new racing car this year.

Chiruit Israngkun Na Ayuthaya, director of domestic MICE, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, said the FIA Formula E Championship in Bangkok would help economic growth and generate tourism revenue for the country, especially in the MICE industry and economic activities related to motor sport.

Earlier this year, FEH presented the FIA with a preliminary list of eight cities - London, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro - selected as candidates to host races for the inaugural Formula E season. Now FEH has added Bangkok to the latest list. One more country is slated to be included; Singapore and Indonesia have been shortlisted as candidates.

The Formula E cars are being built by Spark Racing Technology. They feature ease of control, futuristic design, low-cost production and low weight while ensuring safety. Tyres are supplied by Michelin.

Formula E intends to serve as a framework for research and development of electric vehicles and accelerate general interest in EVs for personal use.

Pol Maj-General Lattasanya Piansomparn, adviser to the minister of energy, said: "In 2012, total production, local sales, and exports of cars all reached new highs. Close to 2.5 million cars [were produced], breaking a 50-year-old record."

The Thai car industry is on the way to becoming one of the top 10 auto producers in the world. Government policy is to promote Thailand as the Asean hub of automotive production, and its 2012-16 master plan for the automotive industry is to formulate development strategies for sustainable growth of the industry, especially following the global trends towards clean energy.

These trends were instrumental in Thailand being chosen as a candidate to host the new FIA Formula E Championship, he said.