MICHAEL SCHUMACHER HEADS TO THE RACE OF CHAMPIONS IN BANGKOK…
Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher will be in the line-up as the Race Of Champions celebrates its 25th year of competition in 2012. The German motor racing great – who has more F1 titles, wins and poles than anyone in history – will travel to Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium, which will host the prestigious event on the weekend of December 15-16.
Held every year since 1988, the end-of-season contest brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans and the X-Games – 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 15 December, before the individual Race Of Champions takes place on Sunday 16 December.
For the past five years Schumacher has joined up with Sebastian Vettel to take Team Germany to victory in the ROC Nations Cup. Reigning F1 world champion Vettel has already announced he will be back for more – and now Schumacher has confirmed that the winning duo will be reunited again. The pair will aim to add yet more Race Of Champions glory to their incredible haul of Formula 1 world championships.
Schumacher said: “I have never raced in Thailand before so this will be an interesting addition to my motor sport travels. Of course it means Team Germany won’t have the home advantage of the past two years but Seb and I managed okay in London and Beijing so we hope it won’t stop us from keeping up our run!
“I’ve turned into a Race Of Champions regular and the event is very entertaining. It is not so much the competition which makes me come back as the fun and the time you spend with the other drivers. But racing in a stadium is sensational – and it’s a very different experience for us drivers to hear the fans so close. And of course we are all professionals so the moment we close the visor we want to win…”
The Race Of Champions brings together stars from all over the world. The 2011 field featured a total of 10 Formula 1 world championships courtesy of Schumacher, 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 legends.
After recent visits to London’s Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium (2009) and Dusseldorf’s ESPRIT arena (2010-2011), ROC 2012 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium. Built for the 1998 Asian Games, the 50,000-capacity stadium has since hosted Thailand’s home football matches plus athletics, pop concerts and even political rallies.
Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson said: “It’s great news that Michael will be joining us again for ROC in Bangkok. He is the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time and we were delighted to see him back on the F1 podium in 2012. We’re proud that he enjoys the Race Of Champions and we hope fans from Thailand and around the world will grab this chance to see this racing legend in action.”
There is even better news for German motor sport fans as television station SAT.1 will broadcast this year’s Race Of Champions live from Bangkok. SAT.1 will show the ROC Nations Cup on Saturday December 15 and the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday December 16 – both live – so German race fans can watch their heroes battle it out at Rajamangala Stadium.
Tickets will go on sale on September 28 while information about media accreditation will be released later this month. 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:
Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion
Sebastian VETTEL, 2010 and 2011 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