After a dozen years in the Canary Islands, the race was hosted in France for three years, then London for two, Beijing in 2009, followed by two years in Düsseldorf, Germany. In 2012 it was held in Bangkok, but was canceled last year due to political unrest. Now the organizers have confirmed that the race will be held this year in Barbados.
The selection of the Bushy Park Circuit in the capital of Bridgetown makes this not only the first time the race will be held in the Caribbean, but also the first time it will be hosted in the Americas altogether. According to track chairman Mark Maloney, "Motor sport is the number one spectator sport in Barbados, ahead of even cricket and football." The track recently upgraded from a 0.8-mile circuit to a 1.2-mile FIA Grade 3 facility with capacity for tens of thousands of spectators, and has recently hosted the Global Rallycross Championship together with the Top Gear Festival in May.
This year's ROC will be held December 13-14, starting with the Nations Cup, followed by the individual Race of Champions the next day and culminating with a new Skills Challenge. Romain Grosjean was the last champion crowned in 2012, preceded by Sébastien Ogier, Filipe Alburquerque, Mattias Ekstrom and Sébastien Loeb. The Nations Cup, however, has been dominated for six years by the German pairing of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.
- This year's Race Of Champions will take place at the Bushy Park Circuit in Barbados on December 13-14
- The Caribbean venue has seen off a strong field of rivals to win the right to stage the annual end-of-season motor sport event
- A host of driving legends from the major forms of motor sport will assemble for ROC 2014 in December to discover who's the fastest of them all
- Some of the cars will then stay on at the Bushy Park Circuit, which will host a range of new and unique ROC driving experiences throughout 2015
The 2014 Race Of Champions will be held at the Bushy Park Circuit in Barbados on December 13-14 after the Caribbean venue saw off a wide range of contenders from all round the world to host the prestigious motor sport event.
The annual end-of-season contest, which has been held for over 25 years, brings together the world's greatest drivers from motor sport's major disciplines – including Formula 1, World Rally, Le Mans, MotoGP, Nascar, IndyCar, Touring Cars and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
In recent years the Race Of Champions has visited the Stade de France in Paris (2004-2006), London's Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), the 'Bird's Nest' Olympic Stadium in Beijing (2009), Düsseldorf's ESPRIT arena (2010-2011) and Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium (2012).
The public was asked to contribute to the decision on this year's ROC host via a vote on the Race Of Champions website, Facebook and Twitter. The Bushy Park Circuit was one of the most popular choices – and after final discussions with all the leading contenders, the Barbados venue has now been selected to stage ROC 2014.
ROC organiser Fredrik Johnsson said: "We have been overwhelmed by the response to our Venue Vote over the past few weeks. We received over 14,000 votes for a mix of different stadiums and circuits all over the world – which will join our list of venues under consideration for future ROC events. As for 2014, the Bushy Park Circuit was one of the most popular venues in our vote and we are very excited to be heading to Barbados as we assemble some of the world's greatest drivers for another festival of motor sport and entertainment.
"Hosting ROC at a circuit marks a break from our last ten years of stadium events but this is a throwback to our long-time home at Gran Canaria, which hosted the Race Of Champions from 1992 to 2003. We will certainly return to stadium events in the future but for 2014 we will take advantage of the available space to build a truly spectacular ROC parallel track at Bushy Park. We now look forward to seeing a packed house for a guaranteed weekend of thrills in December."
Bushy Park Circuit Inc Executive Chairman Mark Maloney added: "We are delighted with the news that Bushy Park Circuit has been chosen as the facility to host the Race Of Champions for 2014. This achievement speaks volumes to the credibility of our facility and to our ability to host world class events and also to Barbados as a destination. Motor sport is the number one spectator sport in Barbados, ahead of even cricket and football. Now we look forward to being able to show the world what we have to offer as we continue to showcase what we consider to be the world's premier boutique motor sports facility in tropical paradise."
Newly renovated this year to become a multi-purpose motor sport facility, the Bushy Park Circuit has a 40-year history of hosting big racing events. Situated a short drive from the Barbados capital city Bridgetown and the international airport, the circuit has now been extended from 1.3km to a licensed FIA Grade 3 circuit just over 2km long with capacity for tens of thousands of spectators. The redevelopment also features a new clubhouse and pits complex along with a drag strip and a kart track.
Now the Bushy Park Circuit will play host to its biggest motor sport event yet as ROC 2014 heads to the Caribbean island. The Barbados venue will house ROC's specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes linked by a unique crossover bridge. Drivers will pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year taking place on December 13, ahead of the individual Race Of Champions the next day.
But that's not all. The venue will also feature the new ROC Skills Challenge course, which has been specially designed to test a range of driving skills including chicanes, slaloms, 360˚ and 180˚ turns and parallel parking. Then, following December's event, some of the cars raced at ROC 2014 will stay on at the circuit, which will continue to host unique ROC driving experiences offering corporate guests, VIPs and fans an opportunity to race in identical cars to the legends of motor sport on the very same track, providing a direct comparison with the world's best drivers.
Tickets for ROC 2014 are now available from http://www.bushyparkcircuitinc.com/roc-tickets. Details about media accreditation will be released shortly. Please visit www.raceofchampions.com for further information and access to high-resolution imagery. Sign up for all the latest updates at www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook or @raceofchampions on Twitter.