Mon 14 September 2009
- The Race Of Champions 2009 to become first international sports event to take place in China’s national stadium since 2008 Olympic Games
- Event date moved to early November, immediately after Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
The Race of Champions - the ultimate end-of-season motorsport battle – will become the first international sports event to be staged at China’s national stadium since the 2008 Summer Olympics when it takes place on November 3-4, 2009.
The “Bird’s Nest” stadium will host the event, which moves from Wembley after a two-year run at England’s national stadium and three years at the Stade de France in Paris. The 2009 event, which will start just two days after the Formula 1 season reaches its climax in Abu Dhabi, will move from a weekend to a midweek event for the first time.
The event will be staged over two days, with the ROC Nations Cup on Tuesday, November 3 and The Race of Champions on Wednesday, November 4, to offer spectators a more extensive exhibitions line-up, plus the possibility of more competitors and teams than ever before.
Speaking about the move, Fredrik Johnsson, President of Event Organisers IMP, enthused, “we received exciting proposals from five world-class stadia, but after the incredible Olympics last year, Beijing’s candidacy was difficult to ignore. The Bird’s Nest venue is awesome and having spent the last five years at two of Europe’s biggest stadiums, we were thrilled about the opportunity to take The Race of Champions to Asia for the first time, to another of the world’s most iconic sporting arenas.”
Mr Li Jianyi, General Manager of Great Gate, managing company of the Bird's Nest, said of the agreement: “Following last year’s Olympics, we now possess one of the world’s best sporting stadia and will continue to stage elite international sporting competition in Beijing. We are very excited about The Race of Champions coming. The stadium has already hosted the world’s fastest athletes; now it will host the world’s fastest racers.”
"We would like to thank the Beijing Sports Bureau, the Federation of
Automobile Sport in China, Great Gate and Sportsunite for making it possible
for The Race of Champions to become the first major international sporting
event in The Bird's Nest after the Olympic Games."
"I would also like to say thank you to Wembley for the past two years,”
Johnsson continued. “The people there were great to work with and helped us
put on two fantastic events. This year will be the Race of Champions’ first
year outside of Europe, but we will definitely be back soon.”
Last year’s Race of Champions attracted the most successful ever drivers from Formula 1 (Michael Schumacher), World Rallying (Sebastien Loeb), the Le Mans 24 Hours (Tom Kristensen), and World Touring Cars (Andy Priaulx), as well as F1 race winners Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Sebastian Vettel, plus Triple World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss. Others to have competed in the past include Valentino Rossi, Fernando Alonso and Colin McRae.