Mon 05 October 2015
Two of Britain’s greatest ever Olympians Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Ben Ainslie will return to London’s former Olympic Stadium on the evening of Friday 20 November to take part in a unique driving challenge at the 2015 Race Of Champions.
Hoy and Ainslie had the honour of being Team GB’s flagbearers at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympic Games at the very same stadium. Now the pair will return – but this time they will have a much faster way to get around as they take on the ROC Celebrity Skills Challenge presented by TAG Heuer.
The two sporting greats have ten Olympic gold medals between them – six for Hoy in cycling and four for Ainslie in sailing. But come the evening of Friday November 20 it will be time to ditch the bikes and boats as both will take to four wheels on the ROC Skills Challenge course, which has been specially designed to test a range of driving skills including chicanes, slaloms, 360° turns and parallel parking. They will be joined in the chase for ROC glory by other big names from sport and elsewhere, with a full list to be published as the event approaches.
Hoy is already an accomplished racing driver, having partnered Charlie Robertson to glory in the LMP3 class of this year’s European Le Mans Series. He is now aiming to compete in next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. At the Race Of Champions he will have a chance to quiz driving legends including nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and this year’s victor Nico Hülkenberg, who will both be appearing in the weekend’s headline ROC Nations Cup (Friday) and Race Of Champions (Saturday).
Hoy said: “London’s former Olympic Stadium obviously holds very happy memories for me ever since the Opening Ceremony in 2012, so I’ll really enjoy returning for the Race Of Champions in November.
“Of course swapping two wheels for four has been a big challenge at this stage of my career but this year in ELMS could hardly have gone better. The ROC Celebrity Skills Challenge is hopefully a bit more light-hearted but it will be fun to find out whether my efforts on the track can transfer to some of these more tricky, technical manoeuvres. Either way I’ll try to put on a show and I hope we can get some of the famous London 2012 atmosphere going inside a packed stadium on the Friday evening.”
Ainslie, who like Hoy has retired from Olympic competition, is now leading a bid to bring sailing’s prestigious America's Cup back to Britain, and has launched his own British team - Land Rover BAR.
Ainslie said: "I've always been very interested in motorsport, and we have looked to our partners Land Rover, along with Formula 1 and other automotive suppliers, for engineers and technology for our team. I'll be hoping that some of that has rubbed off on me for the Race Of Champions; we want to put on a good show for the crowds next month."
The ROC Celebrity Skills Challenge presented by TAG Heuer will be part of a busy programme of shows to be held at the former Olympic Stadium during the Race Of Champions weekend. With a range of stunt drivers, music, cheerleaders and more, at ROC the entertainment and action never stops.
The Race Of Champions itself is an annual end-of-season contest which has been running for over 25 years. It brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, Le Mans, Rallycross, Touring Cars and MotoGP – 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.
Drivers competing at ROC 2015 include F1 stars Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hülkenberg and Felipe Massa, Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, reigning World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg, reigning Formula E Champion Nelson Piquet Jr, British Touring Car great Jason Plato, reigning ROC Champion of Champions David Coulthard, Williams Martini Racing’s Official Test Driver Susie Wolff plus MotoGP world champions Mick Doohan and Jorge Lorenzo.
ROC president Fredrik Johnsson said: “We always keep the entertainment coming thick and fast between the main events at the Race Of Champions – and we hope many sports fans will take this chance to see two all-time greats of British sport on Friday 20 November, which is now turning into our very own ‘night of knights’.
“When it comes to champions, Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Ben Ainslie are up there with the best the world has ever seen. They’ve proven time and again that they are both more than capable of handling speed so let’s see how they get on around our special ROC Skills Challenge course. Now we hope to welcome a full house on the Friday evening to cheer these home-grown heroes at London’s former Olympic Stadium, where they both carried the flag so memorably for Team GB three years ago.”
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 contest is returning to its European roots at the iconic home of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Tickets for ROC 2015 at London's former Olympic Stadium are now available via www.ticketmaster.co.uk/roc. For access to rights-free high-resolution imagery and to keep up with all the latest news ahead of this year’s event please visit www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook plus @raceofchampions and #ROCLondon on Twitter.
Drivers already announced for the 2015 Race Of Champions: