The Race Of Champions will celebrate its 25th year of competition at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium in December, 2012. The Thai venue has beaten off a wide range of contenders from all round the world to host the prestigious event, which has been held every year since 1988.
The end-of-season contest brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans and the X-Games – to battle head-to-head in identical machinery. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup ahead of the individual Race Of Champions the next day. Details of the exact dates for this year’s event will be announced shortly.
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 (2010-2011). Now it is venturing outside Europe for only the second time in its 25-year history.
His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and Sports Mr Chumpol Silapa-archa said: “We are thrilled that the Race Of Champions is coming to Thailand. This race will be a perfect opportunity for Thais to see some of the world’s greatest drivers and represents another step by the government in its efforts to promote racing and automotive sports in the Kingdom. We aim to bring Formula One to Thailand as well.”
Governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand, Khun Kanokphand Chulakasem added: “The Race Of Champions has a prestigious place on the racing calendar and we are delighted to have won the right to play host in 2012. We are committed to making this race one of the best races ever and look forward to welcoming driving legends and fans from around the world to Thailand.”
The Race Of Champions brings together stars from all over the world. The 2011 field featured a total of 10 Formula 1 world championships through Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button. The line-up also included greats from Le Mans (Tom Kristensen), touring cars (Andy Priaulx) and the X-Games (Travis Pastrana) plus a host of other motor sport stars. The individual Champion of Champions title was taken by France’s world rally ace Sébastien Ogier, who defeated Kristensen in the Grand Final. The ROC Nations Cup went to Team Germany’s Schumacher and Vettel, who took an unprecedented fifth straight crown.
ROC 2012 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round the Rajamangala Stadium. Built in time to stage the 1998 Asian Games, the stadium has since hosted Thailand’s home football matches plus the Asian Cup in 2007. With a capacity of 50,000, the venue also hosts athletics, pop concerts and even political rallies.
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 been swamped with offers from first-rate venues all over the world but we couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate our 25th anniversary than Thailand. Following our visit to Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium in 2009 this is only the second time the event has been held outside Europe. Now we can look forward to seeing some of the best drivers in the world fighting it out at ROC in Bangkok.”
“We are excited that Thailand will play host to the 25th Race Of Champions,” said Red Bull UK Chairman, Mr Chalerm Yoodvidhya. “The Thais are renowned for their hospitality and we will stage an amazing race that will showcase the best that Thailand has to offer. Siam Winery is proud to be a principal sponsor of this race.”
Mr Santi Bhirombhakdi, President of the Singha Corporation and co-sponsor said: “Singha is delighted to once again partner Red Bull and Siam Winery in supporting a racing event of this calibre. We are thrilled that the Race Of Champions will be held in Thailand and excited about what this event means for motor sports in the country.”
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. Sign up for all the latest updates at www.raceofchampions.com, @raceofchampions on Twitter or Race Of Champions on Facebook.
The full driver line-up for the 2011 Race Of Champions was:
- Sebastian VETTEL, 2010 and 2011 Formula 1 World Champion
- Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion
- Jenson BUTTON, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion
- David COULTHARD, 13 Formula 1 grand prix victories
- Tom KRISTENSEN, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner
- Andy PRIAULX, three-time World Touring Car Champion
- Sébastien OGIER, winner of five WRC rallies in 2011
- Romain GROSJEAN, driver for Lotus F1 team and 2011 GP2 Series Champion
- Vitaly PETROV, driver for Caterham F1 team
- Timo GLOCK, driver for Marussia F1 team
- Mattias EKSTROM, double DTM champion and triple ROC Champion of Champions
- Timo SCHEIDER, double DTM Champion
- Martin TOMCZYK, 2011 DTM Champion
- Juho HÄNNINEN, 2011 S-WRC Champion and 2010 IRC Champion
- Jan KOPECKÝ, three-time Intercontinental Rally Challenge runner-up
- Filipe ALBUQUERQUE, DTM star and 2010 ROC Champion of Champions
- Brian DEEGAN, 13 X-games medals including Rally Cross gold in 2011
- Travis PASTRANA, four-time Rally America winner and X-Games legend