Thu 29 October 2009
Work is almost complete in turning Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium into a race track for The Race of Champions – one of the first major events to be held at the venue since the Olympic Games last year.
Over 8,000 tons of gravel, asphalt and bamboo have been used to convert the stadium into a 1km-long parallel circuit, on which the world’s greatest motorsport stars will compete head-to-head against each other from 2-4 November. Work is now almost finished, with just finishing touches left to complete.
The construction process began with the laying of bamboo boards to protect the surface below, before gravel and asphalt were laid on top. The finished result is a two-lane parallel track, on which identical cars will be raced to prove who is the fastest.
Stars who will be taking part in this year’s event include Button, Schumacher, eight-time Le Mans 24 Hour winner Tom Kristensen, and a host of drivers from rallying, touring cars and bike racing.
The Race of Champions began in 1988 and has been held at several venues, from Gran Canaria to the Stade de France in Paris and most recently Wembley. The size of the Olympic Stadium has allowed organisers to build a circuit that is longer and faster than any of the tracks they have built before. Fredrik Johnsson, President of event organisers IMP, said the Beijing event is a significant one:
“This year’s Race of Champions is incredibly exciting, because it’s the first time we’ve ever taken the event outside Europe.
“The Chinese impressed the world with the Olympic Games last year, and the Bird’s Nest Stadium was a fantastic centrepiece. It was the natural choice for our first event in Asia.”
The event will be broadcast live on television across the world, as well as live online at www.freecaster.tv.