The 2013 Race of Champions has been cancelled, the organisers announced today. The ROC was scheduled to take place in Bangkok Thailand on December 14-15.
The following statement appeared on the Race of Champions website today:
“The Sports Authority of Thailand and the organisers of the 2013 Race Of Champions have announced that the event cannot take place as planned on December 14-15 due to the current political situation in Bangkok.
“Our thoughts are with the Thai people during this difficult period and we wish that a peaceful solution will soon be found. The Race Of Champions has been held all over the world for 25 consecutive years and we are currently looking at options of repeating the success of last year’s event in Bangkok on another date.
“Fans who have already purchased tickets for this year’s Race Of Champions should contact Thai Ticket Major or their ticketing agent for further information on refunds.”
The Race of Champions has become a major event on the motorsport calendar, pitting some of the best drivers in the world from various motorsport disciplines against each other in equal machinery. Among those scheduled to appear at the now-cancelled 2013 event were 7-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher, former Grand Prix winner David Coulthard, 4-time Australian V8 supercar champion Jamie Whincup, recently crowned World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier and motorcycle racing legend Mick Doohan.
It’s not yet clear if it will be possible for the 2013 Race of Champions to be moved to a later date. Issues of politics and location aside, many of the drivers involved are already preparing for the start of their respective 2014 seasons, which limits their availability.
Williams development driver Susie Wolff has been confirmed as a competitor in this year’s Race of Champions. She will form an all-Scottish pairing in Team GB with former Formula One driver David Coulthard.
The Race of Champions is an annual event that sees competitors from various motorsport disciplines pitted against each other in a series of races in equal machinery. Pairings from various countries compete for the Nations Cup and there is also an individual competition, the winner of which is crowned “Champion of Champions”. Last year’s individual winner was Lotus F1 driver Romain Grosjean.
Team Germany, consisting of four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel and retired F1 legend Michael Schumacher, has won the Nations Cup six years in a row. Schumacher has confirmed that he will be back this year, and Vettel is also expected to compete.
In the team event, Susie Wolff and David Coulthard will represent Team GB (Great Britain), and will be aiming to dethrone the all-conquering Germans.
Wolff and Coulthard have competed on the same track quite a few times, when both raced in the DTM series from 2010 to 2012. They will be competing with each other again in the individual event of this year’s Race of Champions. Last year Coulthard reached the semi-final stage, proving that he still has plenty of skill behind the wheel despite having retired from racing.
This will be Susie Wolff’s first Race of Champions, and in fact the first appearance in the competition by a woman. Wolff has plenty of racing experience, although she hasn’t competed full-time in any racing series this year while she’s been concentrating on her job as development driver for the Williams Formula One team. Before joining Williams, Wolff competed full-time in DTM for seven years.
Susie Wolff expressed her enthusiasm for the upcoming event:
“Any driver would love to be invited to do the Race Of Champions,” said Wolff. “It’s an event I have watched as far back as I can remember. What is so exciting is that the cars race head-to-head and you can see how close it is: it always comes down to hundredths. Jumping in and out of the different cars is going to be the real challenge. You need to make sure your car control is as good as it can be because you don’t have time to get a proper feeling for the car, you just get in and go.
“Then there’s the ROC Nations Cup, where I certainly feel responsibility to make sure we do well as a nation. I know David from our time in DTM and I rate him really highly so to be part of the team alongside him makes me very proud. Of course we’ll be up against drivers who are absolutely at the top of their game. So I know it’s not going to be easy but I’m relishing the challenge.”
The Race of Champions will take place in Bangkok on 14 and 15 December 2013.
Romain Grosjean is the 2012 Champion of Champions, after triumphing against a host of enormous names in motorsport. Grosjean defeated eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour winner Tom Kristensen 2-0 in the final of the individual competition.
There is no easy path to victory at the Race of Champions – with the best of the best from all motorsport disciplines competing, every race is tough and each victory along the way hard-earned. But Grosjean had, if anything, the most difficult possible path to the final. In the group stages, he was up against seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, current Indycar Series Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and RoC Asia runner-up Kazuya Ohshima. Despite losing narrowly to Schumacher, Grosjean beat Hunter-Reay and Ohshima to proceed to the knock-out stages.
After the group stages, Grosjean’s path to victory became even more difficult. He was matched up against current triple Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel in the third quarter final, and was arguably not expected to proceed to the semi-finals. But an uncharacteristic error from Vettel – which shows just how hard he had to push against Grosjean – meant the German crashed out, and set-up a Grosjean-Schumacher semi-final. Grosjean avenged his earlier defeat to Schumacher by knocking the legendary German out of the competition.
The final was a best of three affair between Grosjean and Tom Kristensen. Kristensen had beaten last year’s winner Sebastian Ogier and former Formula One driver David Coulthard en route to the final, proving his speed in the process. But he was no match for Grosjean, who needed only two heats to seal his victory and become 2012 Champion of Champions.
After a mixed season in Formula One – with three podiums, a number of crashes and a race ban for causing a pile-up at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix – Grosjean was relieved to end the year with a victory. The young Frenchman said, “That’s what I’d call a crazy day! It got a bit tough in the group stages but I managed to make it through. Then I had to face Sebastian Vettel in the quarter-final before Michael Schumacher in the semi-final – the two Germans who beat us in yesterday’s RoC Nations Cup final. Then I had the final with Tom. We’ve had a good history at this event and I’ve raced him before so it was good to face him in the final. I got a bit of extra luck to be in the right car at the right time but it felt good.
“It’s been a tough end to the F1 season but I finally got back on the podium yesterday, and now this! It’s great to get this win before I head off for a holiday. Thanks to everyone in Thailand because the welcome has been fantastic.”
Grosjean has not yet been confirmed at Lotus for the 2013 Formula One season, but will be hoping for a favourable announcement from his team soon.
For the sixth year in succession, the German team of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel has won the Race of Champions Nations Cup. This year’s victory was the result of a 2-0 thrashing of team France in the final.
Germany really does have the dream team of all dream teams – the most successful of all Formula One drivers and the newly crowned triple Formula One World Champion. So it comes as no surprise that Schumacher and Vettel won yet again. Their dominance in the final is perhaps a little surprising, considering who they were up against.
Team France consisted of Sebastain Ogier (2011 individual event Race of Champions winner) and Romain Grosjean who is a current Formula One driver and has displayed significant speed in the this year’s Formula One World Championship. But they had no answer to Germany – Schumacher dispatched Grosjean in the first heat of the final and Vettel won the “battle of the Sebs” in heat two to seal the team victory.
The Nations Cup took place yesterday, but the action is not over. Today sees the drivers compete in the individual Race of Champions, a title neither Schumacher nor Vettel has ever won although Schumacher has lost in the final twice. Vettel has not yet featured in a RoC individual final.
Today’s individual event sees drivers compete in groups before the top driver proceed to a knock-out stage. The groups are as follows:
Sebastian Ogier – World Rally Championship and 2011 RoC winner
Jamie Whincup – Four time V8 Supercar Champion
David Coulthard – 13 F1 Grand Prix victories
Benito Guerra – 2012 Production World Rally Champion
Tom Kristensen – eight time Le Mans 24-hour winner
Andy Priaulx – three time World Touring Car Champion
Ho-Pin Tung – F1 test driver and fastest RoC Asia qualifier
Nattavude Charoensukawattana – RoC Thailand winner
Sebastian Vettel – triple F1 World Champion
Jorge Lorenzo – double MotoGP World Champion
Mick Doohan – five time 500cc MotoGP World Champion
Tin Sritrai – RoC Thailand runner-up
Michael Schumacer – seven time F1 World Champion
Ryan Hunter-Reay – 2012 Indycar Series Champion
Kazuya Ohshima – Second fastest RoC Asia qualifier
Romain Grosjean – Current F1 driver with three 2012 podiums