Sport: There's Only One Way To Find Out...

By London_Duncan Last edited 115 months ago
Sport: There's Only One Way To Find Out...
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That would be great, though, wouldn't it? If you could get newly crowned World Champion F1 driver and all round superstar in the making Lewis Hamilton to race off against triple Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy, only Hamilton's in a Merc and Hoy's on his bike and they're on parallel tight, twisty tracks to cancel out the obvious advantage for the car when flat out. I mean, what are the chances of us seeing that in our lifetime, eh? And the chances of it being in London?

Well, if you can hold out until next Sunday, you need wait no longer. This spectacle so tasty nearby ad executives might spontaneously combust will be merely part of the support to the main event at Wembley Stadium, which, for the second year in a row, is hosting the Race of Champions, the annual event designed to discover the best overall driver from the worlds of circuit and off-road racing. Last year the usually unstoppable Michael Schumacher had to give best to Sweden's DTM touring car champion, Mattias Ekström, who had also won the previous Race of Champions in Paris. This year they will be joined by two British F1 drivers currently without a seat for next year in David Coulthard (retirement of driver) and Jenson Button (retirement of team) as well as luminaries of other petrol driven competitions such as eight time Le Mans 24 hour winner Tom Kristensen, A1GP leader Adam Carroll of Ireland, NASCAR truck ace Carl Edwards and even world Superbike champion, Troy Bayliss.

The drivers race against each other on tracks that run parallel round two sides of Wembley, but then diverge into two different configurations, one including a bridge, before rejoining each other at the end of a lap. Initially, the drivers compete with a partner in an eight-team Race of Nations knockout before going it alone in the climatic Race of Champions series itself. To make sure no driver has a particular advantage, any one of five different car types can be designated for any individual race. One minute it's Schumi v Bayliss in dune buggies, the next it's Jenson v Edwards in identical prototype tourers. If you want to know how they get the circuit into a football stadium, Wembley's Jim Frayling gave us the inside track earlier this year.

Picture via ph-stop's Flickr stream.

Tickets for several hours' worth of racing and demonstrations begin at a credit crunch defying £18, then gradually move up through the gears until they reach £110 for a prime start/finish line berth. Those eyeing up an early Christmas present may want to go the whole hog and get the £189 Paddock Pass which buys you:

"...access to the Paddock to see the cars and get autographs from drivers for 1 hour and includes a Goodie bag. It also gives access to a spectator area in the paddock for the entire event, but with limited capacity during the actual racing."

There may not be a London Grand Prix just yet, but this is the next best thing and you get a clear view of the whole race. And if on Sunday you think you've just witnessed pugilists Frank Bruno, David Haye, Amir Khan and Enzo Maccarinelli go head to head in Fiat Abarths we should warn you that you have NOT been imagining things.

Last Updated 10 December 2008