Britain’s two most successful racers in 2008 – triple Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy and Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton – will go head-to-head at Wembley Stadium next month.
On a parallel track, Hamilton will line up in a Mercedes-Benz road car while Hoy takes to his Dolan track bike. Starting side-by-side, the two stars will race around the circuit on a tight and twisty course.
The F1 ace would seem to have the advantage – 600 brake horse power and a top speed of 208mph (334kph), compared with the cyclist’s two-and-a-half bhp and 37mph (59kph – his average speed in the Olympic time trial). But Hoy’s explosive power should give him a good start and he only has 99kg (218lbs) or man and machine to steer around the hairpin bends, compared with Hamilton’s 1450kg (3200lbs).
The event is part of the pre-show entertainment at the annual Race of Champions on Sunday, 14 December. This pits competitors from two and four-wheeled motorsport – F1 stars, superbike champions, NASCAR racers and rally aces – against each other.
Hoy, who won the keirin, team sprint and individual sprint in Beijing, said: “I’m a big motor racing fan and I’ve seen the Race of Champions on TV so to be there in the flesh is going to be great and to be able to compete and take part in it is fantastic. I can kick out about two-and-a-half brake horsepower so that’s not going to quite match his car, but I think they’ll make the race as close as possible and I’ll be giving it absolutely everything. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Hamilton said: “This is going to be something very special. The atmosphere is going to be crazy. It’s going to be a great way to end a fantastic year, and I’m really looking forward to putting on a show to thank the fans from all over the world and my fantastic British fans for all their support.”
The Formula One champ will also perform a demonstration run in his championship-winning Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
Fredrik Johnsson, president of event organisers IMP, said: “Ever since we created the Race of Champions 20 years ago, we’ve been putting the greatest racers in the world against each other. With Britain’s fantastic performance in Beijing, especially in cycling, we thought about how we could include that in the event and when Lewis won the F1 World Championship it was just perfect.”
Hamilton and Hoy are both frontrunners in the 2008 BBC Sports Personality of the Year contest which is being staged on the same day. After the race they will head to Liverpool for the awards ceremony.
For tickets to the Race of Champions, call 0844 412 1743 or visit www.raceofchampions.com. Adult prices start at £18 and child tickets at £9. There are also a limited number of hospitality tickets and packages available.