Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Wembley under Tarmac for Race of Champions

I was astonished to hear that the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium in London will be covered in 1,800 tonnes of tarmac for a motor racing 'Race of Champions' on 16 December.

Retired seven times Formula One champion Michael Schumacher has confirmed his participation while organisers said Lewis Hamilton, the 22-year-old rookie leading the standings for McLaren, had expressed an interest. "I hope that my participation can help the event organisers raise even more funds and awareness for the Institute for Cerebral and Medullary Disorders," Schumacher said in a statement. Drivers include David Coulthard and Jenson Button.

"It could be a unique occasion, the only occasion to see him compete against Michael Schumacher," said Fredrik Johnsson, founder of the event which brings together champions and leading drivers from across the world of motorsport.

The Race of Champions, previously held at the Stade de France in Paris, will have a rally-style format with knockout heats on a two-lane asphalt track inside the new Wembley Stadium.

"Transforming Wembley Stadium into a proper tarmac race track in five days is a huge and costly project," said Fredrik Johnsson. "Just to re-lay the famous football pitch after The Race of Champions costs over £150,000, but the result is spectacular!" Tickets from £35 at Ticketmaster.

The Race of Champions site

After seeing the state of the pitch when they sacreligiously allowed American Football - a factor I am sure in England's defeat against Croatia - I am surprised that the powers to be of Wembley are continuing in their money-making ideas. Granted, this time, they will relay the pitch.

I heard that Russia has a stadium with a football pitch on a sort of tray which is wheeled away to reveal an ice skating rink. That makes more sense.

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