News of the planned Formula One track and Formula One Grand Prix (2010 F1코리아그랑프리) in Yeongam county has been big down here for the past few years, and it looks like today the final pieces fell into place. From Reuters:
Organisers of a planned South Korean Formula One Grand Prix have secured full funding to complete the building of a circuit by July 2010 and operate the race, they said on Tuesday.
The Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) said in a statement it had raised 198 billion won ($159.7 million) in loans under a financing deal with nine local financial institutions.
The rest of a total 434 billion won needed to build a racetrack and run the event would be covered by the organiser's capital and public subsidy, KAVO said.
The 3.4 mile track, designed by Hermann Tilke, is under construction in the southwestern region of South Cholla province.
Those who can navigate Korean websites can find more information and pictures via the official website.
One of the more irritating things about reading Korean news through Western sources unfamiliar with the country is the awkward and inconsistent romanization. Browsing the handful of articles on the topic I see there are two votes for South Cholla (2), three for South Jeolla (1, 2, 3), and one for Jeollanam-do. For those who don't know, "nam" means south, "do" means province.
Jeolla is the correct romanization according to the most recent system, though you'll see the province spelled a bunch of different ways. If you were to write the syllables out, it'd be Jeon ra nam do---and Google turns up over 62,000 results for that---but the n-sound in Jeon and the r-sound in ra blend together into Jeolla. Cholla would be correct according to the old system of romanization, but only if you use the proper diacritic mark and wrote it as Chŏlla. The "ŏ" corresponds to 어, where as plain "o" corresponds to 오, two different sounds. By omitting these diacritic marks---some computers aren't equipped to handle them---you give the reader the impression you're using the newest romanization, leading to confusion between the "ch" and "j" sounds.
It's a tough name to pronounce, and can lead to some embarrassment because not only does Jeolla (전라) mean naked---and is an age-restricted search term on Naver---but I've been told Jolla (졸라) is an adjective similar to "fucking"---"It was really fucking big."---and since foreigners are prone to mispronouncing the province, it can lead to some embarrassment. If I'm not feeling confident, I'll just use the contraction, Jeonnam (전남).
For the past few years the upcoming F1 track in Yeongam has provided many opportunities for festivals and car shows to bring out racing models. Unfortunately, most of them act like eight-year-olds.