Every year some of the world’s greatest drivers gather together to enjoy a relaxing and entertaining bit of racing – the annual Race of Champions event. The race has been described as being “like racing go-karts in your living room” by Jenson Button (Formula One) and it certainly seems to be an apt description of this enjoyable event.
The Race of Champions was started in 1986 in Paris as a battle of international rally drivers. Now it is one of the best off-season auto racing attractions in the world. There are two parts to the competition – the two-man teams and an individual shootout. The drivers entered into the race start side-by-side in opposite lanes as they get ready to tackle the almost 1-mile lap that will take them back to the starting line. The lap takes the various drivers on separate paths and there are two laps. There is a team event which follows a best-of-three format, while the individual portion of the race works on a win and advance system. Both of the different races involve bracket racing and to keep things interesting, there are five types of cars that are rotated during the four-hour event. The prize for the teams is glory for your country and a great day of stress-free racing. According to seven-time Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher, â€˜The World doesn’t go bad if you lose. It just means you get to have a drink earlier.’ Drivers come from both sides of the Atlantic to compete and fun is the main focus of the day. Some of the cars used this year included an Audi-powered KTM X-Bow track machine, a World Rally Championship Ford Focus, an Abarth 500 Assetto Corse, an open-wheel buggy that looks like a sprint car and another open-wheel vehicle resembling something more ungainly – like a praying mantis. Certainly such a selection of vehicles keeps drivers on their toes and helps to even out the playing field.
And that is exactly what they did do. Carl Edwards attended the event in London for the first time this year to see what all the fuss was about. He found himself inspired by a great day of racing and hopes to return soon. He did quite well, managing to reach the semi-finals in the individual driver’s category, even beating Michael Schumacher in a head-to-head race. Understandably, that was the highlight of Edwards’ trip. In the end it was the German team of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel who took the team trophy for the second consecutive year. Sebastian Loeb proved to be the ultimate individual winner yet again, taking home the trophy for the third time. He did, however, get stiff competition from David Coulthard who went home with bruised hands from some intense driving but a big smile on his face.