More than 40,000 tickets were sold in six hours for the Turkish Grand Prix as it seeks to welcome 100,000 fans to Istanbul Park for its Formula 1 return in November.
The event saw major demand for entry-level tickets that were priced at 30 Turkish Lira (£3/€3.30/$3.90) per day for a limited time.
Turkey’s 220,000-capacity venue is one of the several new or returning tracks to be added to the 2020 schedule due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, joining Mugello, Imola, Portimao and the Nurburgring.
“We were planning to fill the full capacity, 220,000 seats, under normal circumstances but it’s not possible with COVID-19,” said Vural Ak, the chairman of promoter of the venue, according to Motorsport.com.
He added: “We are passionate and enthusiastic about this sport and we can organise it successfully. But as you know, there is COVID-19. That’s why we hope to bring about 100,000 people.”
The venue announced that 10,000 tickets were sold within the first hour, and added another 30,000 tickets on sale over the next five hours.
In 2011, the Turkish GP saw weak attendance figures, although Ak has expressed his confidence in reaching its planned goal of 100,000 trackside fans this year.
Ak continued: “We have to be prepared for anything. If the disease becomes worse than today, then the race can be done without spectators. However, we know the capacity of this track. Around 220,000 spectators can watch the race in the grandstands and in the open areas.
“At the moment for safety reasons, if we close some sections, about 100,000 spectators will be able to watch the race by following social distancing rules.”