Every year, the Race of Champions brings the best and brightest from all disciplines of motor racing together for one winner-takes-all blitzkrieg. Last year's event was hosted in Dusseldorf, and in 2011, the season-closer will once again return to Germany.
The spectacle is scheduled for December 3-4 at Frankfurt's Commerzbank Arena, an enormous, 50,000-seat venue that hosted soccer's World Cup in 2006. (The side-by-side track setup required for the RoC will likely reduce that capacity some.)
The first drivers to sign on at this early juncture are Germany's own Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher – the most recent and most successful Formula One World Champions, respectively. Although neither has won the individual event, the pair have taken the Nations Cup together the last four years running, and will defend their country's glory once again in front of a home crowd. Official announcement after the jump.
[Source: Race of Champions]
Frankfurt to host 2011 Race of Champions
The 24th Race Of Champions will be held on the weekend of December 3-4, 2011 at the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, Germany
- The stadium, one of the settings for football's 2006 World Cup, will be the second successive German venue to host ROC following last year's event at Düsseldorf's ESPRIT arena
- Home heroes Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel have become the first drivers to sign up as they bid to win the ROC Nations Cup for a record 5th year in a row
German motor racing superstars Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel are celebrating again at the news that the Race Of Champions will return to their home soil in 2011 at Frankfurt's Commerzbank-Arena.
The annual end-of-season competition brings together the world's greatest drivers from all motor sport's disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans and NASCAR – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 3 December, before the individual Race Of Champions takes place on Sunday 4 December.
In recent years the Race Of Champions has visited the Stade de France in Paris (2004-2006), London's Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), Beijing's 'Bird's Nest' Olympic Stadium (2009) and Düsseldorf's ESPRIT arena (2010). Now ROC 2011 will return to Germany and the city of Frankfurt, to the delight of the pairing that has all but made the ROC Nations Cup its own.
Reigning Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel said: "After winning the world championship there were a lot of emotions and pictures in my head that I will never forget. One was racing at the Race Of Champions in front of my home crowd and to win the ROC Nations Cup with Michael for Team Germany. So I enjoyed it a lot, up to the point where I got beaten in the semi-final of the individual event! Every year I get a little further. First I made it to the round of 16, then the quarter-final, then the semi-final. So hopefully this year I will make it into the final and win it. That's the big target for Frankfurt in December. We all have a lot of fun every time we go, but the moment we put our helmets on we take it very seriously and we go hard."
Seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher added: "It's important to us to be in our home country so we're really looking forward to throwing some beautiful cars around the Frankfurt circuit in December. Last year it was a great atmosphere. You're so close to the fans that you can hear them even though the engines are noisy. And I'm sure it will be even better in Frankfurt. We have a strong line-up in the ROC Nations Cup but no doubt the other nations will have plenty of motivation to finally beat us. Unfortunately the individual event takes place on the last day and we always have a good party after Team Germany wins so I guess I'm not completely fresh... I'll try to work on that this year and I very much look forward to having lots of support. We need lots of cheering and lots of crossed fingers so please all come!"
It's not just about the home team, as the Race Of Champions brings together stars from all over the world. Last year's roll call included the greatest drivers of all time from the World Rally Championship (Sébastien Loeb), Le Mans (Tom Kristensen) and World Touring Cars (Andy Priaulx) plus legendary names including Alain Prost, Mick Doohan, Carl Edwards and Travis Pastrana. Even given that dazzling field, the individual Champion of Champions title was taken by a driver who surprised the lot of them: Portugal's Filipe Albuquerque, who defeated Vettel in the semi-final and Loeb in a tense Grand Final by fractions of a second.
ROC 2011 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Frankfurt's Commerzbank-Arena. Originally known as Waldstadion, it was one of the host venues for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Armed with a fully-closable roof, the stadium has a full capacity of over 50,000 – though that will be reduced due to the special demands of this unique motor racing spectacle.
Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson, who created the event in 1988 alongside Michèle Mouton, the world's most successful female rally driver, added: "We have again had offers to host ROC 2011 from top class venues from all over the world. But with such German superstars as Sebastian and Michael in the line-up, we're more than happy to be returning to their home ground. The German fans gave ROC a great reception last year and now we're looking forward to hearing even more noise and enthusiasm in Frankfurt in December."
The Race Of Champions will again be promoted in Germany by TSP – The Sports Promoters. Patrik Meyer, Managing Director of TSP, said: "Germany is going through a motorsport golden age with the reigning Formula 1 world champion and the most successful racing driver of all time. So we are proud to be the promoter as Sebastian and Michael again take on all comers in front of the Frankfurt crowd in December."
Information about tickets and media accreditation will be released later in the year. For further details and hi-res imagery please visit www.raceofchampions.com.
The full driver line-up for the 2010 Race Of Champions was:
Sebastian VETTEL, 2010 Formula 1 World Champion
Michael SCHUMACHER, Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion
Alain PROST, Four-time Formula 1 World Champion
Sébastien LOEB, Seven-time World Rally Champion
Mick DOOHAN, Five-time World 500cc Motorcycling Champion
Tanner FOUST, 2010 X-Games rally and rallycross gold medallist
Heikki KOVALAINEN, Formula 1 grand prix winner
Tom KRISTENSEN, Eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner
Andy PRIAULX, Three-time World Touring Car Champion
Jason PLATO, Two-time British Touring Car Champion
Alvaro PARENTE, GP2 race winner & winner ROC South Europe 2010
Filipe ALBUQUERQUE, A1GP race winner & winner ROC South Europe 2010
Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN, Two-time Porsche Supercup Champion
Bertrand BAGUETTE, 2009 World Series by Renault Champion
Carl EDWARDS, 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion
Travis PASTRANA, Eleven-time X-Games gold medallist