Barbados will host the 2014 Race of Champions in December, marking the first time the annual end-of-season 'head to head' motorsport event will be held in the Caribbean.
With the host of this year's event being determined by the public via social media, together with competitors and officials, Barbados emerged triumphant to secure the right to rn the 2014 event at Bushy Park, which has undergone a major redevelopment this year in an effort to attract higher profile events.
The RoC, which has attracted a high calibre of motorsport star since its inaugural event in 1988, has grown in profile in recent years, with Paris' Stade de France, London's Wembley Stadium and Beijing's Olympic Bird's Nest Stadium among those to have hosted the event.
However, officials freely acknowledge the decision to award the 2014 tender to Barbados intentionally harks back to RoC's spiritual home in the Gran Canarian dunes, which played host to the event between 1992 and 2003.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response to our Venue Vote over the past few weeks,” said ROC organiser Fredrik Johnsson. “We received over 14,000 votes for a mix of different stadiums and circuits all over the world – which will join our list of venues under consideration for future ROC events.
“As for 2014, the Bushy Park Circuit was one of the most popular venues in our vote and we are very excited to be heading to Barbados as we assemble some of the world's greatest drivers for another festival of motor sport and entertainment.
“Hosting ROC at a circuit marks a break from our last ten years of stadium events but this is a throwback to our long-time home at Gran Canaria, which hosted the Race Of Champions from 1992 to 2003. We will certainly return to stadium events in the future but for 2014 we will take advantage of the available space to build a truly spectacular ROC parallel track at Bushy Park. We now look forward to seeing a packed house for a guaranteed weekend of thrills in December.”
The Barbados venue will house ROC's specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes linked by a unique crossover bridge. Drivers will pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year taking place on December 13, ahead of the individual Race Of Champions the next day.
Last year's RoC was due to be held in Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium, but was cancelled due to political unrest in the region.
Previous editions of the RoC have seen wins for Romain Grosjean, Sebastien Ogier, Sebastien Loeb, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel