South Korea will hold its first government-sponsored drag race next month, the industry ministry said Wednesday, to help foster the country's car tuning market.
The first Korea Drag Challenge will be held Nov. 15 at a testing circuit operated by the Korea Intelligent Automotive Parts Promotion Institute in Daegu, 300 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
"The government decided to hold the drag race for modified vehicles as a follow-up to its measures for promoting the car tuning industry that were announced in June," the ministry said in a press release.
About 100 vehicles will enter two competitions at the event -- best lap and time attack -- it said. South Korea hosted an F1 race in 2010.
The drag race partly reflects the growing popularity of the motor sport, especially among the young, and also aims to help develop the country's nearly non-existent car tuning industry.
The event represents a significant shift in the government's stance toward the tuning industry, as it had long insisted that excessive modifications to vehicles may jeopardize the safety of cars. Any major changes to vehicles require permission from state agencies.
The government announced it will ease local regulations to promote the tuning industry to have it grow eight times the current size by 2020. The market stood at 500 billion won (US$474.2 million) as of the end of 2012, compared to around 35 trillion won in the U.S. and 14 trillion won in Japan, according to ministry data. (Yonhap)