Frankfurt has been named as the host city of the 2011 Race of Champions, with the unique sporting event set to take place in the Commerzbank-Arena. National heroes Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel have been the first drivers to sign up for the 24th running of the event, which will take place on the weekend of 3/4 December 2011.
Frankfurt becomes the second consecutive German venue to host the occasion, after 2010 took place at DÃ¼sseldorf's ESPRIT arena. 2010 saw Schumacher and Vettel pick up a fourth consecutive ROC Nations Cup title for Germany, before ROC rookie Filipe Albuquerque stunned his rivals to take the Champion of Champions title.
The Commerzbank-Arena, which was used when Germany hosted the 2006 Football World Cup, is the latest in a list of top line stadia to host the end-of-year celebration, following in the footsteps of Stade de France in Paris (2004-2006), London's Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), Beijing's 'Bird's Nest' Olympic Stadium (2009) and DÃ¼sseldorf last year.
It is set to play host to the world greatest drivers from all across the sport, from Formula 1 to Le Mans and NASCAR. The 2010 roll call included seven-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb, three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx and eight time Le Mans 24 Hour winner Tom Kristensen.
Reigning Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel said: “After winning the world championship there were a lot of emotions and pictures in my head that I will never forget. One was racing at the Race Of Champions in front of my home crowd and to win the ROC Nations Cup with Michael for Team Germany. So I enjoyed it a lot, up to the point where I got beaten in the semi-final of the individual event!
“Every year I get a little further. First I made it to the round of 16, then the quarter-final, then the semi-final. So hopefully this year I will make it into the final and win it. That's the big target for Frankfurt in December. We all have a lot of fun every time we go, but the moment we put our helmets on we take it very seriously and we go hard.”
Seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher added: “It's important to us to be in our home country so we're really looking forward to throwing some beautiful cars around the Frankfurt circuit in December. Last year it was a great atmosphere. You're so close to the fans that you can hear them even though the engines are noisy. And I'm sure it will be even better in Frankfurt.
“We have a strong line-up in the ROC Nations Cup but no doubt the other nations will have plenty of motivation to finally beat us. Unfortunately the individual event takes place on the last day and we always have a good party after Team Germany wins so I guess I'm not completely freshâ€¦ I'll try to work on that this year and I very much look forward to having lots of support. We need lots of cheering and lots of crossed fingers so please all come!”
Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson, who created the event in 1988 alongside MichÃ¨le Mouton, commented: “We have again had offers to host ROC 2011 from top class venues from all over the world. But with such German superstars as Sebastian and Michael in the line-up, we're more than happy to be returning to their home ground. The German fans gave ROC a great reception last year and now we're looking forward to hearing even more noise and enthusiasm in Frankfurt in December.”
The event will be promoted again by TSP – The Sports Promoters, whose Managing Director Patrik Meyer added: “Germany is going through a motorsport golden age with the reigning Formula 1 world champion and the most successful racing driver of all time. So we are proud to be the promoter as Sebastian and Michael again take on all comers in front of the Frankfurt crowd in December.”