London to host 2015 Race of Champions
The 2015 Race Of Champions will take place on November 20-21 at the Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – the iconic home of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The former Olympic Stadium, the backdrop to some of the most memorable action of London 2012 plus the opening and closing ceremonies, will now stage its fastest ever race after it saw off contenders from all over the world to host the prestigious motor sport event.
The Race Of Champions is an annual end-of-season contest which has been held for over 25 years. It brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, World Rally, Le Mans, MotoGP, Nascar, IndyCar and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
The event is run over two days: first comes the ROC Nations Cup (on the evening of Friday November 20) when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. Then on the afternoon of Saturday November 21 it’s time for the Race Of Champions itself, when teamwork goes out of the window and it’s a flat-out battle for individual glory. Tickets for both days of racing have gone on sale today from www.raceofchampions.com.
In recent years ROC 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), the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok (2012) and Bushy Park Barbados (2014). Now the event is returning to its European roots once more at London’s former Olympic Stadium.
Reigning ROC Champion of Champions David Coulthard was the first driver to check out the iconic London venue yesterday. The Scotsman saw off a mighty field of motor sport greats to win the event for the first time in Barbados last year. Prior to that he had reached the Grand Final once before, losing out by the narrowest margin to rally legend Sébastien Loeb at Wembley Stadium in 2008. Now Coulthard will bid to retain the trophy in front of his home crowd later this year.
Coulthard said: “It’s fantastic that the Race Of Champions is coming to London. Each of the events has been special in its own way but with so much racing heritage in the UK and as a Brit myself, to host it here in an iconic venue like the former Olympic Stadium is a big deal. I’m sure it will be the best one so far.
“There seem to be some people who aren’t enjoying this Formula 1 season as much as previous years. If they want to rediscover the reason why they enjoy motor sport, they should come along to the Race Of Champions. The stadium environment is what makes it special. You look down on the cars from the grandstands so it gives you a view you wouldn’t get in many venues. When it comes to getting so close to the action, the nearest thing would be Monaco in F1.
“I’m proud yet slightly embarrassed to have won it last year. There are younger and more talented drivers who take part but that’s the nature of the knockout system. You get a chance to compare your driving with a wide range of different drivers in a lot of different vehicles. Somebody has to win so it may as well be me…”
The former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is being transformed into a year-round multi-use venue that will deliver a lasting sporting, cultural and community legacy in east London. The works will be paused this autumn so it can host a range of international sporting events before it closes for further refurbishment ahead of its full re-opening in 2016.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Our wonderful stadium is proving to be the perfect home for sports of every kind, and the Race Of Champions looks set to provide motor sport fans with a thrilling two days of racing. I am sure the stadium will be packed out with Londoners excited by the opportunity of seeing some of the world’s greatest racing drivers compete. ”
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson added: “We are thrilled to be bringing the Race Of Champions back to London in such an iconic venue. The former Olympic Stadium is a stunning location and we have grabbed this chance to offer people a last chance to see it before it closes for eight months for more reconstruction. That means the only available date is slightly earlier than usual for ROC but we know we will put together another truly exceptional list of participants from the world’s main motor sport series. Now we look forward to welcoming a packed crowd to enjoy the sight of some of the world’s best drivers battling it out in this glorious arena.
“In its short history this stadium has already staged some classic races. We all have our favourite moments from the 2012 London Olympics. But to see – and hear – cars race there for the first time will rev the stakes even higher. If you like non-stop action, noise and excitement, the Race Of Champions is the event for you. One thing is for sure: ROC 2015 will be the fastest race the former Olympic Stadium has ever seen.”
Graham Gilmore, Chief Operating Officer of London Stadium 185, the subsidiary of VINCI Stadium who operate and maintain the Stadium, said: “We are excited to host this spectacular two-day event in November. The Race Of Champions will mark the end of an outstanding season of events before the Stadium goes into its final transformation. This is a fantastic opportunity to see the world’s finest drivers compete against each other here in London.”