|© Race of Champions
Organisers have earmarked India as a potential venue to host the Race of Champions in the future affirming Asia as an emerging market for motorsport.
This year’s Race of Champions, scheduled on December 14-16, will be held in Bangkok and will feature Team India in the Nations Cup with Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok as its drivers.
Since 1988, the Race of Champions will be leaving Europe for only the second time following its visit to Beijing in 2009.
“The fact that we are returning to Asia so soon shows how fast the motorsport world is growing in the region. We are planning to return to Asia in the coming years and would be delighted if India could host the race in the near future,” ROC organiser Fredrik Johnsson told IANS.
India has held Formula 1 twice now and will also play host to the World Superbike Championship next year, events which have and will continue to boost the country’s profile in motorsport.
“India’s influence in global motorsports has increased considerably after hosting the Formula 1, fielding an Indian team (Force India) and Indian drivers competing at the highest level. With the ROC going to Bangkok, it was the perfect opportunity to invite India,” Johnsson said.
“We always look very closely at all the eligible drivers from any country taking part in an ROC event. But clearly in this case, Narain and Karun are both well-known all over the globe due to their Formula 1 appearances, so it was always our aim to persuade them to appear together at the ROC,” he added.
The Race of Champions, which Karthikeyan referred to as a “serious sport”, will be held in the Rajamangala Stadium in Thailand’s capital.
"Racing is always serious, we will be not on a Sunday picnic drive. ROC is pretty tight, we have to be on it. We have to try and push 100 percent," Karthikeyan was quoted saying by PTI.
Participants confirmed so far are Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Jorge Lorenzo, Mick Doohan, Jamie Whincup, David Coulthard, Tom Kristensen and Andy Priaulx among others.
Newly-crowed triple champion Vettel will also be making demonstration runs in his 2011 title-winning RB7 around the stadium.