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Inaugural Indian Grand Prix sells 20,000 tickets so far

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The inaugural Indian Grand Prix on October 30, 2011 is determined to be a success if grand prix promoters Jaypee Sports International (JPSI) has anything to say about it--and they do!

"We have already sold more than 20,000 tickets, mostly online...all the tickets priced at Rs 2,500 each have been sold out and now people are buying the more expensive ones," JPSI's Bipul Pathak shared on Monday.

"There is also very good response for the platinum and gold category tickets...a lot of corporates and celebrities are buying them, but we can't disclose names," he said.

According to the Times of India (TOI), the most economical seats were the first to sell with the more expensive locations being sought after now. Initial online sales of tickets were impressive in the first week and with the news of Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan returning to the HRT team for the grand prix, sales should improve with a local driver on the grid.

Emerging markets have continually looked to Formula One for legitimacy in the world spotlight. Hosting a Formula One race is akin to arriving on the world stage. Malaysia, South Korea, China, Singapore, India, Turkey, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain have all joined the Formula One calendar with their own multi-million dollar purpose-built racing circuits.

India's Buddh International Circuit (BIC) was recently inspected by an FIA representative, Charlie Whiting, last week and according the promoters, Mr. Whiting liked what he saw. The homologation process continues and India's motor sport chief, Vicky Chandhok, says things are right on track for the race in October.

South Korea hosted its inaugural grand prix in 2010 and things went right down to the wire, as far as construction was concerned, with seats still being bolted into place a few days before the green flag waved. By all accounts, BIC should be ready, homologated and a terrific event for the nation of India as they dip their toe in the proverbial waters of Formula One--let's hope the water is warm and welcoming.