• Formula One is helping spark Chinese interest in racing.

Formula One is helping spark Chinese interest in racing. (Photo : Twitter)

The recently concluded Shanghai Grand Prix has renewed interest in motor racing in China, a local racing team director said.

New racing craze

Like Us on Facebook

According to Wang Fushi, a Tianjin-based businessman and current director for local team DOPH Racing, the number of people who turned out for the race despite the bad weather was a good indicator of the growing interest in automotive racing. Chinese Grand Prix organizer Juss Event estimated the crowd attendance to be 145,000 for the three-day event, China Daily reported.

Wang also said that it is not only just Formula One racing that's getting a lot of attention from Chinese fans, as other motorsports are also starting to come forth into local consciousness.

He himself and his team have already participated in different racing competitions across the country, including the Beijing Goldenport Grand Prix, the Zhaoqing Super Endurance Championships in Guangdong Province, and the Erdos Northwestern Stock Car Race in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The businessman noted that, while he is already too old to actually drive race cars, that doesn't diminish his passion for the sport.

He added that his interest in motor racing stems from his technology-related education and his lifelong curiosity about the machinery of these vehicles.

But Wang also admitted that China still has a long way to go before it can really compete with other countries, both in actual racing experience and in holding these events. He noted that Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit is still a cut above when compared to the racing circuit in Shanghai, having better facilities.

Manufacturers rejoice

But it's not only those directly involved in the racing industry who are enjoying the speed craze. The surge in the sales of high-performance cars is said to be a good indicator of the increased interest in the sport. Car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz, for instance, reported a 100 percent sales growth in China for its Mercedes AMG division in 2016.

Chinese manufacturers are also rejoicing, as top racing teams are also starting to notice their products. F1 team Williams announced during the Chinese Grand Prix that they have tapped local aluminum manufacturer Citic Dicastal to provide their wheels for the 2018 season, Auto Industriya reported.

Citic Dicastal is the first Chinese company to directly provide parts for an F1 race car, but hopes are high that more will follow suit.