Race of Champions

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For the Formula One race, see Race of Champions (Brands Hatch). For the Modified race, see Race of Champions (Modified).
Not to be confused with International Race of Champions.
Race of Champions
Race-of-Champions-logo.jpg
Category racing and rally
Country International
Inaugural season 1988
Drivers 16 (2012)
Teams 8 (2012)
Drivers' champion France Romain Grosjean
Teams' champion

 Germany

Official website raceofchampions.com

The Race of Champions is an international motorsport event held at the end of each year, featuring some of the world's best racing and rally drivers. It is the only competition in the world where stars from Formula One, World Rally Championship, NASCAR, sportscars and touring cars compete against each other, going head-to-head in identical cars.

The race was first organised in 1988 by former rally driver Michèle Mouton and Fredrik Johnsson, IMP (International Media Productions) President. Originally the event was a competition between the world's best rally drivers, but has since expanded to include top competitors from most of the world's premier motorsport disciplines, including motorcycle racing.

The top individual overall in The Race Of Champions is given the title "Champion of Champions", and receives the Henri Toivonen Memorial trophy. The ROC Nations' Cup was added in 1999 and now features teams of two drivers who compete for their country.

The event has taken place in several venues, including twelve years on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, but most recently has been held in major sporting stadia. After three years based at the Stade de France in Paris, the event moved to the new Wembley Stadium in London in 2007, where it remained for 2008. The Race of Champions visited China in 2009 with an event at the Beijing National Stadium and then moved to Düsseldorf's ESPRIT arena in 2010 and 2011. In 2012 ROC once again moved to Asia with an event in the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

Overview[edit]

Marcus Grönholm and Henning Solberg driving Ford Focus RS WRC 07 cars at the 2007 Nations' Cup.

In the Race of Champions, the individual drivers compete head-to-head in one race around the track. The drivers are gradually eliminated using a round-robin format until the best two reach the super-final. Prior to the Race of Champions, eight teams compete in the ROC Nations' Cup using a similar format.

Sebastian Vettel driving the ROC buggy.

In both the ROC Nations' Cup and the Race of Champions, the super-final consists of three runs. The team or driver that achieves two victories first wins.

Cars[edit]

The cars used in The Race Of Champions vary from year to year. Prior to each run, a type of car is assigned to both of the drivers, with each machine being identical in every respect. Over the course of the event, each driver will get to drive several different cars.

In 2012, the cars selected for the Race Of Champions included a ROC Car buggy, the KTM X-Bow, the Audi R8 LMS, the Lamborghini Gallardo SuperTrofeo, the VW Scirocco R-Cup and the Euro Racecar (stock car).

History[edit]

Two-time winner Stig Blomqvist driving an Audi Quattro S1.

Early years[edit]

The first-ever Race of Champions was held in 1988 at the Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry near Paris, in memory of Henri Toivonen, who died while leading the 1986 Tour de Corse, and to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the world championship for rally drivers.[1]

The inaugural cast included all the eight world rally champions from 1979 to 1988; Björn Waldegård, Walter Röhrl, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist, Timo Salonen, Juha Kankkunen and Miki Biasion. The final was a battle between two "Flying Finns", in which Kankkunen beat Salonen to become the first "Champion of Champions". The cars used at the first event were Audi Quattro S1, BMW M3, Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, Lancia Delta Integrale, Opel Manta 400 and Peugeot 205 Turbo 16.[2]

The following years saw new events in addition to the main race. The International Rally Masters, started in 1990, was designed to offer the season's best drivers, who were yet to win a championship title, the chance to win a spot in the main Race of Champions. The Classic Rally Masters, first contested in 1994, was a "historic" Race of Champions competed with pre-1965 Porsche 911s. These two events have since been discontinued. The ROC Nations Cup, first contested in 1999, continues alongside the individual event.

2004[edit]

2004 surprise winner Heikki Kovalainen driving a Solution F Prototype at the 2007 event.

The 2004 event took place on December 6 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. The individual event was won by Heikki Kovalainen, and the team event by Jean Alesi and Sébastien Loeb representing France. There was also a special "World Champions Challenge" race held between 2004 Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher and 2004 world rally champion Sébastien Loeb, which Schumacher won. Drivers that took part are:

Country Driver 1 Driver 2
Brazil Felipe Massa Tony Kanaan
Finland Heikki Kovalainen Marcus Grönholm
France Jean Alesi Sébastien Loeb
France (Team PlayStation) Sébastien Bourdais Stéphane Sarrazin
Germany Michael Schumacher Armin Schwarz
Great Britain David Coulthard Colin McRae
Sweden Kenny Bräck Mattias Ekström
United States Casey Mears* Jimmie Johnson

* – Casey Mears was a last-minute substitute for Jeff Gordon, who was hospitalised with the flu and told not to participate in this event by doctors while at NASCAR's awards banquet in New York City that week.

2005[edit]

Sébastien Loeb won his second title in 2005.

The 2005 event took place on December 3 again at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. The individual event was won by Sébastien Loeb after Tom Kristensen crashed out of the final, and the ROC Nations' Cup event was won by Tom Kristensen and Mattias Ekström representing Scandinavia.

Changes from the past included a number of wildcard drivers, the use of the Porsche 911 GT3 instead of the Ferrari 360 and the introduction of the Renault Mégane alongside the Citroën Xsara World Rally Car and now traditional "ROC Buggy" as competition cars. The drivers that took part were:

Country Driver 1 Driver 2
France Jean Alesi Sébastien Loeb
United States Jeff Gordon Travis Pastrana
Great Britain David Coulthard Colin McRae
Finland Heikki Kovalainen Marcus Grönholm
Brazil Felipe Massa Nelson Piquet, Jr.
Scandinavia Tom Kristensen Mattias Ekström
Benelux Christijan Albers François Duval
Team PlayStation France Sébastien Bourdais Stéphane Peterhansel
Germany Bernd Schneider Armin Schwarz
Wildcard – ROC Dan Wheldon Daniel Sordo

2006[edit]

2006 winner Mattias Ekström demonstrating his DTM car at the 2007 event.

The 2006 Race of Champions took place on December 16 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. The Nations' Cup was competed first and the event was won by Finland, with Heikki Kovalainen beating United States' Travis Pastrana on the final round. Kovalainen's team mate was the two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm, whereas Pastrana drove all the rounds for the US team, after both Jimmie Johnson and his replacement, Scott Speed, had to withdraw from competing due to injuries (Johnson had a non-racing related injury).

The individual event and the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy was won by Mattias Ekström of Sweden. He beat Heikki Kovalainen by 0.0002 seconds in the semi-finals, and then defending champion, Sébastien Loeb of France, in the finals. The lineup was:

Country Driver 1 Driver 2
France Sébastien Bourdais Sébastien Loeb
France 2 Yvan Muller Stéphane Peterhansel
United States None* Travis Pastrana
England James Thompson** Andy Priaulx
Finland Heikki Kovalainen Marcus Grönholm
Scandinavia Tom Kristensen Mattias Ekström
Scotland David Coulthard Colin McRae
Germany Bernd Schneider Armin Schwarz
Spain Nani Roma Dani Sordo

* – As Jimmie Johnson, and later replacement Scott Speed were both injured and a replacement could not be found. Pastrana raced all rounds for the team.

** – As Jenson Button could not race due to two cracked ribs.

2007[edit]

The 16 competitors line up before the start of the event.

The 2007 Race Of Champions took place on 16 December at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The ROC Nations' Cup took place at the start of the afternoon and was won by Germany over Finland. The individual event followed and the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy was won by Mattias Ekström of Sweden, beating Michael Schumacher of Germany in the final. The lineup was:

Country Driver 1 Driver 2
England Jenson Button Andy Priaulx
Scotland David Coulthard Alister McRae
Germany Michael Schumacher Sebastian Vettel
Scandinavia Tom Kristensen Mattias Ekström
USA Jimmie Johnson Travis Pastrana
Finland Heikki Kovalainen Marcus Grönholm
Norway Petter Solberg Henning Solberg
France Sébastien Bourdais Yvan Muller

2008[edit]

The 2008 Race Of Champions event took place at Wembley Stadium, London on 14 December 2008. A special race was due to take place during the event, with Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy cycling against the reigning Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who was to drive a Mercedes road car. However, due to the slippery nature of the track, the race did not occur. Hamilton drove parade laps with Hoy in the Mercedes road car, however, and also demonstrated his championship-winning Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula One car at the event, his first major British public appearance since winning the F1 title and David Coulthard demonstrated his 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix Red Bull Racing mount. The following drivers took part:

Country Driver 1 Driver 2
Autosport Great Britain Jenson Button Andy Priaulx
F1 Racing Great Britain David Coulthard Jason Plato
Germany Michael Schumacher Sebastian Vettel
Scandinavia Tom Kristensen Mattias Ekström
USA Carl Edwards Tanner Foust*
France Sébastien Loeb Yvan Muller
All-Stars Jaime Alguersuari** Troy Bayliss
Ireland Gareth MacHale Adam Carroll

*Travis Pastrana was scheduled to drive for Team USA, but the week before race, he broke his hip.
**Mark Webber was scheduled to drive for Team Australia, but sustained a broken leg in November. He was replaced by Alguersuari and the team was renamed "ROC All Stars".

2009[edit]

The 2009 event took place in Beijing's National Stadium ("Bird's Nest") on November 3 (Nations Cup) and 4 (Drivers Cup).

2010[edit]

The 2010 event took place in Düsseldorf's Esprit Arena on November 27–28.[3]

2011[edit]

The 2011 event was due to take place in Frankfurt's Commerzbank-Arena on December 3–4,[4] but after Eintracht Frankfurt's relegation to German football's Second Division, the stadium could no longer host the event on those dates.[5] The Race of Champions was held in the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf, just as in 2010.[6]

2012[edit]

The 2012 Race of Champions took place on December 14-16 at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.[7] The individual Race Of Champions was won by Lotus F1 driver Romain Grosjean, who beat Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen in the finals. The ROC Nations Cup was won for the sixth consecutive time by Team Germany's Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher.

The 2012 edition was the first to include a ROC Asia competition, with teams from host nation Thailand, India, China and Japan battling for two spots in the ROC Nations Cup and individual seats in the actual Race Of Champions.

2013[edit]

The 2013 Race of Champions was due to take place on the December 14-15 at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, but was canceled due to political unrest in Bangkok.[8]

Winners[edit]

 Year  Location Champion of Champions Runner-Up Nations' Cup Rally Masters Classic Masters ROC Asia
Nation Team
2013 Thailand Bangkok Cancelled
2012 Thailand Bangkok France Romain Grosjean Denmark Tom Kristensen  Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
Not Held Not Held  India
2011 Germany Düsseldorf France Sébastien Ogier Denmark Tom Kristensen  Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
Not Held
2010 Germany Düsseldorf Portugal Filipe Albuquerque France Sébastien Loeb  Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
2009 China Beijing Sweden Mattias Ekström Germany Michael Schumacher  Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
2008 United Kingdom London France Sébastien Loeb United Kingdom David Coulthard  Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
2007 United Kingdom London Sweden Mattias Ekström Germany Michael Schumacher  Germany Michael Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel
2006 France Saint-Denis Sweden Mattias Ekström France Sébastien Loeb  Finland Heikki Kovalainen
Marcus Grönholm
2005 France Saint-Denis France Sébastien Loeb Denmark Tom Kristensen DenmarkSweden Scandinavia Tom Kristensen
Mattias Ekström
2004 France Saint-Denis Finland Heikki Kovalainen France Sébastien Loeb  France Jean Alesi
Sébastien Loeb
2003 Spain Gran Canaria France Sébastien Loeb Finland Marcus Grönholm SpainBrazilFrance All-Stars Fonsi Nieto
Cristiano da Matta
Gilles Panizzi
2002 Spain Gran Canaria Finland Marcus Grönholm France Sébastien Loeb  United States Jimmie Johnson
Jeff Gordon
Colin Edwards
2001 Spain Gran Canaria Finland Harri Rovanperä Germany Armin Schwarz  Spain Jesús Puras
Rubén Xaus
Fernando Alonso
2000 Spain Gran Canaria Finland Tommi Mäkinen Finland Marcus Grönholm  France Regis Laconi
Yvan Muller
Gilles Panizzi
Germany Armin Schwarz
1999 Spain Gran Canaria France Didier Auriol Finland Tommi Mäkinen  Finland Tommi Mäkinen
JJ Lehto
Kari Tiainen
Germany Armin Schwarz
1998 Spain Gran Canaria United Kingdom Colin McRae United Kingdom Alister McRae Not Held United Kingdom Alister McRae Italy Miki Biasion
1997 Spain Gran Canaria Spain Carlos Sainz United Kingdom Colin McRae Finland Jarmo Kytölehto Germany Walter Röhrl
1996 Spain Gran Canaria France Didier Auriol France François Delecour Spain Flavio Alonso Not Held
1995 Spain Gran Canaria France François Delecour United Kingdom Colin McRae Italy Andrea Aghini Belgium Marc Duez
1994 Spain Gran Canaria France Didier Auriol Sweden Stig Blomqvist Finland Timo Salonen France Jean-Louis Schlesser
1993 Spain Gran Canaria France Didier Auriol Spain Carlos Sainz Sweden Stig Blomqvist Not Held
1992 Spain Gran Canaria Italy Andrea Aghini United Kingdom Colin McRae Spain Flavio Alonso
1991 Spain Madrid Finland Juha Kankkunen France Didier Auriol Spain Josep Maria Bardolet
1990 Spain Barcelona Sweden Stig Blomqvist Finland Tommi Mäkinen Sweden Kenneth Eriksson
1989 Germany Nürburgring Sweden Stig Blomqvist Germany Walter Röhrl Not Held
1988 France Montlhéry Finland Juha Kankkunen Finland Timo Salonen

Total wins[edit]

Champion of Champions

Driver Victories
France Didier Auriol 4
France Sébastien Loeb 3
Sweden Mattias Ekström 3
Sweden Stig Blomqvist 2
Finland Juha Kankkunen 2
Italy Andrea Aghini 1
France François Delecour 1
Spain Carlos Sainz 1
United Kingdom Colin McRae 1
Finland Tommi Mäkinen 1
Finland Harri Rovanperä 1
Finland Marcus Grönholm 1
Finland Heikki Kovalainen 1
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque 1
France Sébastien Ogier 1
France Romain Grosjean 1

Nations' Cup

Country/Team Victories
Germany Germany 6
Finland Finland 2
France France 2
Spain Spain 1
United States United States 1
All-Stars 1
Scandinavia 1

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The concept". Race of Champions. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "History overview". Race of Champions. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Germany to host 2010 Race of Champions". raceofchampions.com (Race of Champions). 2010-04-23. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Frankfurt to host 2011 Race of Champions". raceofchampions.com (Race of Champions). 2011-04-14. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "New location for 2011 Race of Champions". raceofchampions.com (Race of Champions). 20 June 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "The Race of Champions returns to Düsseldorf". raceofchampions.com (Race of Champions). 1 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (25 May 2012). "Race of Champions moves to Thailand for 2012". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  8. ^ http://raceofchampions.com/News/general-news/race-of-champions-2013-update.aspx

External links[edit]