A warm welcome to the first, of a small special edition series of the Race of Champions reported on B/R by The Formula One Times.
If you like NASCAR, Motocross, World Rally, Touring Cars, Formula One, then stay tuned with the ROC F1 Times as we bring you all the news from Wembley.
With the Race of Champions (ROC, as it will hereby be known) only covered on Pay-to-view TV channels in the United Kingdom and many other countries, the Formula One Times has taken it upon itself to bring you the build-up to the big show and the results.
In this first edition we will bring you:
- A brief history of the event.
- The drivers participating in the ROC.
- The teams in which they belong.
A brief history: The ROC began in 1988, when the concept of a race encapsulated in a stadium was first thought up by Michele Mouton and Frederic Johnsson. It began as a competition between rally drivers, with the idea that they would compete in identical cars, to then be crowned the "Champion of Champions" and receive the Henri Toivonen memorial cup.
Held in the Autodrome de Linas-Montlhery in France, the event featured all eight world champion rally drivers from 1979 to 1988. In the end the final was between Juha Kankkunen and Timo Salonen, with Kankkunen being crowned "Champion of Champions."
The modern ROC event started in 2004 which included F1 drivers, NASCAR drivers, Rally drivers, Le Mans drivers and Touring car drivers. The event was won overall by the current McLaren-Mercedes driver, Heikki Kovalainen who took the individual category, and team France; Sebastien Loeb and Jean Alesi took the team event.
Drivers in 2004 included; Felipe Massa, Tony Kanaan, Marcus Gronholm, Sebastien Bourdais, Stephane Sarrazin, Michael Schumacher, Armin Schwarz, David Coulthard, Colin McRae, Kenny Brack, Mattias Erkstrom, Casey Mears, and Jimmie Johnson.
Held at the Stade De France, the competition was won by Sebastien Loeb (individual), Mattias Erkstrom and Tom Kristensen (nations cup).
Drivers included; Travis Pastrana, Jeff Gordon, Nelson Piquet Jr, Benrd Schneider, Dan Wheldon, Daniel Sordo, and all the 2004 drivers, minus Tony Kanaan.
The last ROC event to be held at the Stade De France, was won by Mattias Erkstron who beat Heikki Kovalainen by 0.0002 seconds in the closest ever semi-final, he then went on to beat defending champion Sebastien Loeb in the final. The Nations cup was won by Heikki Kovalainen and Marcus Gronholm.
The ROC moved to its new location at Wembley Stadium in the UK. The Nations event was won by none other than seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, with Mattias Ekstrom beating MS in the individual final.
2008 is set to be the best ROC event ever. The event will be held at London's Wembley Stadium for the second year in a row.
The drivers signed up for 2008 are;
Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel for Team Germany. With both drivers competing last year, and winning the Nations Cup for Germany, its no wonder they have plumped for the same drivers this year. Vettel had his maiden win at Monza this year and has already been likened as a Mini-Schumacher, and everyone knows a team with two Schumachers (as long as its not Ralf) would trounce the competition.
Team F1 Racing Great Britain
David Coulthard is so far the only confirmed driver for Team F1, which means there is a remaining seat for someone. Could it possible be Lewis Hamilton? It would make sense, a newly crowned British F1 champion partnering an experienced British (should-of-been-champion), makes the perfect team. Look out for issue three when we will reveal all.
Team Autosport Great Britain
Great Britain has two teams this year, because the host nation gets that privilege, much like France had two teams when it was held at the Stade De France. Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx make up Team GB Autosport.
Team Oz was confirmed as Mark Webber and Troy Bayliss, but due to an unfortunate car vs bike accident and Mark Webber suffering a broken leg, Team Oz are desperately looking for a replacement. We will reveal the new partner to Troy Bayliss soon.
The French team will consist of Sebastien Loeb and Yvan Muller. A very strong team considering Loeb has won the singles and nations event. Yvan Muller will take his place as Loeb's partner in his second ROC outing.
The Scandinavian team's chances will be fought out by Tom Kristensen and Mattias Ekstrom, the most experienced team at the ROC. With three wins between them, including a win in the Nations cup in 2005 when the duo teamed up.
The United States of Americas hopes will be fought by NASCAR driver Carl Edwards and Motocross champion Travis Pastrana. Travis is a veteran at the ROC, with 2008 being his fourth appearance, whilst Carl Edwards will be a newcomer.
Watch the special preview video, to get an idea about the event:
Next week's special edition of the Race Of Champions reported on B/R by the Formula One Times will look at the track layout, the venue and the special race. Brit vs Brit.