"Mann tracht und Gott lacht," goes the old Yiddish proverb – "Man plans and God laughs." Which could have just as well been the motto for this year's Race of Champions.
The traditional end-of-season shootout between racing's top drivers from various motorsport disciplines was set to change venues this year for the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, but after a scheduling conflict arose with the local soccer team, organizers were forced to scrap their plans and find a different location.
The solution? Heading back to Düsseldorf where the race was held last year. The ESPRIT arena's experience in hosting the event and its relative proximity to the Frankfurt location undoubtedly proved major factors in the decision, as organizers hope to retain existing ticket-holders.
So far, only Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel – four-time winners of the paired Nations Cup – have confirmed their participation, but with the race scheduled for December, there's plenty of time to bring in the rest of the talent. Last year's race featured such names as Alain Prost, Sebastien Loeb, Tanner Fourst and Travis Pastrana, along with Schumacher and Vettel and many others. Follow the jump for the press release.
The Race Of Champions returns to Düsseldorf
- The 24th Race Of Champions will be held at Düsseldorf's ESPRIT arena on the weekend of December 3-4, 2011
- The German venue, which also hosted ROC 2010, replaces Frankfurt's Commerzbank-Arena after a late fixture clash with Bundesliga football
- Following their ROC Nations Cup win at the stadium last year, F1 superstars Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel will return to defend their title
Düsseldorf's ESPRIT arena is to host its second successive Race Of Champions on December 3-4, 2011 instead of Frankfurt's Commerzbank-Arena.
In addition to last year's successful Race Of Champions, the ESPRIT arena has also hosted international football matches, world heavyweight boxing title fights and this year's Eurovision Song Contest. Now this news means the noise of engines will again reverberate round the Düsseldorf stadium in December.
While there is excitement at this outstanding replacement venue, race organisers wish to extend their sincere apologies to the thousands of fans who have already ordered tickets for the event in Frankfurt. As announced last week, this had to be changed due to a late fixture clash with Germany's Bundesliga football.
Düsseldorf has been chosen as the replacement as it is the closest alternative venue in order to allow as many Frankfurt ticket-holders as possible to attend. By way of recompense for this inconvenience, the organisers have created a special offer for existing ticket-holders to come to Düsseldorf. Alternatively they will be entitled to a full refund.
Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson said: "We had a successful event at the ESPRIT arena last year and we look forward to working alongside the same people again. While we are happy to be heading back, we want to apologise again to all the race fans who made plans to join us in Frankfurt. After our announcement last week we were contacted by a number of great venues but Düsseldorf is the closest alternative and we hope our special offer will make up for some of the disappointment. With Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and the other great champions, the event is sure to thrill everyone who makes it to Düsseldorf in December."
Patrik Meyer, Managing Director of German promoters TSP, said: "We're happy that we have been able to sort out this perfect replacement venue at such short notice. We know Düsseldorf's ESPRIT arena well from last year. It is a spectacular stadium and the crowds will see equally spectacular racing. We're sorry to inconvenience the fans who already have tickets for Frankfurt but we hope as many as possible will take us up on our special offer to see the greats of motorsport in action."
The Race Of Champions is an annual end-of-season competition that 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 on a specially constructed parallel track. 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.
Düsseldorf's ESPRIT arena features a roof and heating system, and the atmosphere is certain to be heated as German F1 superstars Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel again head ROC's line-up of motorsport legends in front of their home fans.
For information about tickets for the Race Of Champions in Düsseldorf please visit the website 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