It has been confirmed that Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel will head to Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium in November to defend Germany's Nations' Cup glory in the annual Race of Champions (ROC), the end-of-season spectacular that pitches the biggest stars from all disciplines of motorsport against each other in identical machinery.
Immediately after the final Formula 1 race of the year in Abu Dhabi, the seven-time world champion and Red Bull Racing grand prix winner will both fly to China, where they will work as a team in the ROC Nations' Cup on 3 November before battling it out for individual glory in the Race of Champions just a day later, competing around a specially-constructed parallel tarmac circuit built inside the stadium made famous by the 2008 Summer Olympics.
“The Race of Champions is always big fun to compete in,” remarked Schumacher. “It's the perfect combination of fighting on-track and at the same time having fun together, and this comes across to the audience. The spectators feel this special atmosphere and ultimately enjoy themselves as much as we do.
“I'm really looking forward to joining in again this year, and am curious to see how the Chinese spectators will react to our crazy show on the track in the famous and beautiful Olympic Stadium. I'm sure they will love an event that has been entertaining European motorsport crowds for over 20 years.
"What's also important to me is that the ROC helps raise money and awareness for ICM, the Institute for advanced research on Brain and Spinal Cord Disorders, which is under construction in Paris and that I have been a supporter of for several years.
“Sebastian and I are geared up to defend our title again – and of course I will push also in the drivers' category and will try to win there too!”
The duo will enter the ROC Nations' Cup as favourites, having won the event for the past two years at Wembley Stadium. In the Race of Champions itself, Schumacher has twice reached the final – in 2004 and 2007 – whilst Vettel is hopeful of improving on his form from last year.
“I'm really looking forward to this year's Race of Champions in Beijing,” enthused the man who achieved RBR's maiden F1 victory in the Chinese Grand Prix back in April. “The event is always a lot of fun, and to compete in the Bird's Nest is going to be amazing. I think everyone still has the image of this fantastic stadium in their memories from the Olympic Games last year.
“I look forward to trying to take our third title for Germany in the ROC Nations' Cup together with Michael, and personally I'm also aiming to win the individual Race of Champions after the disappointment last year when I was knocked out in the quarter-finals.”
The two German drivers will join Team Monaco's Clivio Piccione and Emmanuele Pirro, who won their places in the event by triumphing in the Race of Champions' first regional final, ROC South Europe in Portugal, last weekend.