Voting has opened for people across the globe to choose the location for the 2014 Race Of Champions – and the Ricoh Arena is the only UK venue on the nine-strong list.
The Race Of Champions is the only event where the world’s best racing and rally drivers from Formula 1, the World Rally Championships, Le Mans, MotoGP, NASCAR, IndyCar, Touring Cars and the X Games compete against each in identical cars.
Wembley hosted the event in 2007 and 2008 and this year the shortlist includes the Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Stade de France, Paris, France; Doha, Qatar; Bushy Park Circuit, Barbados; Friends Arena, Stockholm, Sweden; Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt, Germany; Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany, and the Circuit of The Americas, Austin, USA, as well as the Ricoh Arena.
A “Fan Vote” has now been launched to find out where people want to see the Race Of Champions take place in 2014 to decide the winning venue.
Jacky Isaac, Ricoh Arena CEO, said this would be a massive coup for the Midlands and the Ricoh Arena to host the Race Of Champions over two days.
“This year the Ricoh Arena has a fantastic opportunity to host motor sport's big end-of-season finale: the Race Of Champions,” she said.
“After the event taking place at Wembley Stadium, Beijing's Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium, the Stade de France in Paris, the National Stadium in Bangkok and many other prestigious venues, we are one of the final candidates still in the running to host the 2014 event.
“It would be a massive coup for the Midlands and the Ricoh Arena to host the Race Of Champions – but we need your support!
“We need to convince the organisers to come here which is not going to be easy considering the high-profile stadiums from across the world that we are competing against.
“We know we have the facilities, the infrastructure, the partnerships and experience to deliver a great event not to mention the passion and enthusiasm that is so real that you can feel it from our staff at the venue and the City Council who have worked tirelessly to help get this far in the bidding process.
“The cars would use the Jaguar Exhibition Hall as a paddock area before driving down the tunnels into the stadium bowl and the pitch would be used as a race track.
“The event has attracted drivers such as Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button and the current leader of the World Rally Championship Sébastien Ogier to drive against each other.
“One of the big benefits of the Ricoh Arena we believe is that spectators would be really close to the action.
“On top of helping us bring a world-class event to the region, everyone who votes has a chance to win prizes including a TAG Heuer watch and cool new Race Of Champions merchandise as well as the opportunity to secure the best seats at a reduced price if we win.
“It would be simply amazing but we need your support!”
Cllr Ann Lucas OBE, Leader of Coventry City Council said: “When we hosted Olympic football here in 2012 we lived up to the occasion magnificently, and showed the world what a brilliant city Coventry is at hosting international events.
“Thousands of visitors were impressed by the warm welcome we gave them, the facilities at the Ricoh and the festival atmosphere across the city. I think that’s going to be a great selling point for the Ricoh’s bid, and I hope everyone can get behind Coventry to bring the Race Of Champions to the Midlands and to the UK.
“There’s no better place in the world to showcase the best in motoring than Coventry, with our unrivalled history of motor manufacturing and engineering – a heritage that everyone in the city is proud of.
“That tradition of design and manufacturing innovation lives on today in firms like Jaguar Land Rover, the growing automotive engineering sector and the world-class reputation in this area of our two universities. We may not be the biggest place bidding for this race, but we’re absolutely the best.”