2 December 2013
‘Space Diver’ added to RoC bill
Record-breaking skydiver Felix Baumgartner has signed up to take on the cream of motorsport greats in this year's Race of Champions.
The Race of Champions is set to feature its fastest ever competitor as 'Space Dive' record-breaker Felix Baumgartner has signed up to race in the 2013 event at Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium.
The world held its breath last year as a live YouTube audience of eight million people saw Baumgartner jump to Earth from 39km up after completing the highest ever manned balloon flight. Along the way, he set a record for the fastest ever freefall and became the first man to accelerate through the sound barrier without a vehicle.
The achievement marked the end of a five-year planning process with the Red Bull Stratos team, not to mention a 25-year skydiving career for Baumgartner in which he completed over 2500 parachute jumps. The Austrian also set a world record for the lowest BASE jump from Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue in 1999 and he has a string of other firsts to his name.
Now he's safely back on solid ground, Baumgartner has officially quit the daredevil business, but his need for speed hasn't quite evaporated. Armed with a vehicle for a change, he recently raced in a VW Scirocco Cup event supporting Germany's DTM series, and now takes the 'giant leap' of taking on the field of motorsport greats assembling in Bangkok for ROC 2013 over 14-15 December.
“I've seen a lot of the Race of Champions because I've always been really interested in motorsport,” Baumgartner said, “My dad never invested money in it, so I moved in a different direction and became a skydiver.
“But I've practised rally driving with a friend and, in the last couple of years, I've had a lot of invitations to motorsport events, so I'm practising and practising and getting better and better. Of course, I'm at a very medium level, but I'm used to speed, picking things up fast and I'm not scared to compete against the best.
“I like the Race of Champions concept because nobody really has the chance to practise a lot - you just hop into the car and do your best. Because it's right between F1 and rally driving, whoever wins really is the best overall motorsport competitor. Of course, everyone is at the top of their game, so I'm the one with the least amount of pressure this time. They all want to show they're the best racing driver in the world, whereas I'm a skydiver… No-one will be expecting very much from me and, as long as I don't damage the car and I do a couple of cool laps, everybody's going to say 'hey, he's not as bad as we thought he would be!'
“I'm looking forward to it and I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot from it. The more I can learn, the better.”
The 2013 RoC already features stars from all over the world, including seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, motorcycling ace Mick Doohan, V8 Supercar great Jamie Whincup and 2013 World Rally champion Sébastien Ogier.
“We are thrilled that Felix will be able to join us for the first time at the Race of Champions,” RoC Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson added, “Our event is all about speed and I can think of few more famous speedsters than the man we all saw hurtle towards Earth from the edge of space last year. We are always looking to find great achievers from different disciplines and it's always fascinating to see the interaction between them so it's fantastic to have someone like Felix in the mix.
“Felix is no mean driver either, and he has driven both the VW Scirocco Cup and the KTM X-Bow from our range of cars so he could give the regular drivers a fright. He may also be keen to educate the others on the true meaning of the word 'spin'… We hope plenty of fans will grab this chance to see a world-famous daredevil take on a world-class field of motor sport greats in Bangkok.”
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
the conversation - Add your comment
Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.