Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen has signed up for the 2011 Race Of Champions, to be held at DÃ¼sseldorf’s ESPRIT arena on December 3-4, 2011.
Denmark’s Kristensen is acknowledged as the finest endurance racer in motor sport history. He has a record eight victories in the Le Mans 24-Hour race, plus five wins at the Sebring 12-Hour race and an American Le Mans Series title. This year his bid for Le Mans victory was stopped by Allan McNish’s dramatic crash but he will be back for more in 2012.
Kristensen is also starting to set another endurance record of his own at the Race Of Champions. Of the 2011 drivers, he has the longest run of ROC appearances, dating back to 2001 when it was still held in Gran Canaria. In 2005 he reached the individual Grand Final in Paris and won the ROC Nations Cup for Team Scandinavia alongside Sweden’s Mattias EkstrÃ¶m. The pair also reached the ROC Nations Cup final in 2008 at Wembley (pictured) and they have been reunited this year.
Kristensen said: “The Race Of Champions is a great event: that’s why I keep coming back! I always enjoy partnering Mattias in the ROC Nations Cup too: we don’t usually compete against such a wide range of opponents in our normal professional life so to have a chance to race against such talented drivers is fantastic. What’s particularly nice is to see everyone enjoying themselves off the track. It’s also fun to jump in and out of different fast cars in front of such an enthusiastic public. You can really hear them in the cockpit over the noise of the engines…"
ROC race organizer Fredrik Johnsson said: “We’re delighted that Tom keeps coming back to the Race Of Champions. He’s a genuine legend who has dominated his area of motor sport for over a decade. Tom’s a great crowd-pleaser in the stadium and I’m sure that he and Mattias will be a big threat to Team Germany and the other pairings in the ROC Nations Cup."
The Race Of Champions is an annual end-of-season competition that brings together the world’s greatest drivers from all motor sport’s disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery on a specially constructed parallel track. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 3 December, before the individual Race Of Champions takes place on Sunday 4 December.
Drivers confirmed so far for ROC 2011 include Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button – who have ten Formula 1 world championships between them. Plenty more big names will be added in the run-up to the event at DÃ¼sseldorf in December. For information about tickets (starting from â‚¬19) please visit the website www.raceofchampions.com.
* NB Due to a clash of commitments, German rally ace Armin Schwarz will no longer be competing in the ROC Legends Cup race on December 4. His place has been taken by Belgium's Marc Duez, multiple winner of the Spa and NÃ¼rburgring 24-Hour races and European Rally Champion. Duez will race in the event against former F1 stars Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Jos Verstappen.
Drivers already confirmed for the 2011 Race Of Champions:
- Sebastian VETTEL, 2010 and 2011 Formula 1 World Champion
- Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion
- Jenson BUTTON, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion
- Andy PRIAULX, three-time World Touring Car Champion
- Mattias EKSTROM, DTM star and triple ROC Champion of Champions
- Travis PASTRANA, four-time Rally America winner and X-Games legend
- Romain GROSJEAN, 2011 GP2 Series Champion
- Sébastien OGIER, five wins in 2011 World Rally Championship
- Martin TOMCZYK, 2011 DTM Champion
- Tom KRISTENSEN, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner