New venue, new challenges for RoC
Wembley Stadium’s famous football pitch is set to be paved in less than four weeks' time when newly-appointed contractors pave the way for The Race of Champions next month. The spectacular event will see the world’s most famous racing
drivers, including Michael Schumacher
, Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard, Jenson Button
and Heikki Kovalainen go head-to-head in a champion of champions decider.
FM Conway, the company of 2006 British F3 Champion Mike Conway’s father, has recently been appointed to get Wembley ready for the task and will start transforming the London landmark with 1,800 tonnes of tarmac on 24 November.
“There’s been a lot of planning to this over the last couple of months,” said Contracts Director Brian Morris, who says a team of 40 men will work night and day to get the track ready in time. “We went to the Stade de France to see The Race of Champions last year so we know what we’re letting ourselves in for!”
The circuit design, which sees two lanes running parallel to allow drivers to race within the confines of the stadium, has been modified to account for Wembley's dimensions.
“We have tested the new layout and from that we can see it will be very interesting," said Michèle Mouton, co-founder of The Race of Champions.
"Working at Wembley will present some issues we haven’t encountered before. The ground slopes away from the pitch and we have to work on this camber, which will be the main problem this year for me.
Assistant Race Director, Marc Duez, thinks the camber will add drama to the racing. “We have four corners with opposite camber,” said the Belgian former race and rally driver. “It gives the cars a certain roll; they have less grip than in a normal corner so we hope that it will provide even more spectacular racing!”
The Race of Champions is a unique motorsport format that sees drivers from all genres racing against each other in a stadium environment, allowing the expected 80,000 fans uninterrupted views of every second of action.
"Transforming Wembley Stadium into a proper tarmac race track in five days is a huge and costly project," said Fredrik Johnsson, President of event organisers IMP. "Just to re-lay the famous football pitch after The Race of Champions costs over £150,000, but the result is spectacular!"
Drivers confirmed for December 16th event include: Michael Schumacher
, Jenson Button
, Andy Priaulx, David Coulthard, Sebastian Vettel, Sébastien Bourdais, Tom Kristensen, Mattias Ekström, Jimmie Johnson, Travis Pastrana, Marcus Grönholm and Heikki Kovalainen.
Source Race of Champions