Tue 04 October 2016
Indianapolis 500 winners Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Kanaan have signed up to compete at January’s Race Of Champions in Miami’s Marlins Park
Montoya has twice tasted the famous Indianapolis bottle of milk after wins in 2000 and 2015, while Kanaan joined him on the Borg-Warner trophy in 2013
They join a ROC Miami line-up featuring fellow Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, NASCAR champion Kurt Busch and action sports star Travis Pastrana
Four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel, FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg and ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen will also race
Many more driving superstars will be announced in the run-up to ROC Miami on January 21-22, 2017, with tickets on sale at www.raceofchampions.com
Indianapolis 500 winners Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Kanaan have joined the field of driving greats who will take part in the first Race Of Champions on American soil – inside Miami’s Marlins Park on January 21-22, 2017.
Colombia’s Montoya has one of the mightiest collections of silverware in global motor sport, with a roll of honour dating back 20 years. Last year he took his second victory in the Indianapolis 500 following his first win in 2000. The Colombian still competes in IndyCar, topping and tailing his 2016 season with victory in the St Petersburg opener and a podium at the finale in Sonoma.
Montoya has been successful in series all over the world, not least Formula 1 where he competed for six years and took wins in prestigious grands prix including Monaco, Italy, Britain, Germany and Brazil. He has also won twice in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and taken three wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Such a wealth of racing experience will come in useful as he makes his debut at the Race Of Champions, where drivers have to make quick switches between different superfast cars.
Montoya (pictured below) said: “I’m really looking forward to competing in my first Race Of Champions. It’s an event I’ve always wanted to do, and to be able to race here at home in Miami makes it even more special. I actually won my first international race in America here in Miami – in the Barber Pro Series in 1994.
“The Race Of Champions is such a unique event, bringing together the top drivers from the main series around the world and from different generations. When I was racing in Formula 1, Sebastian Vettel was a young talent in Formula BMW, now he is a four-time World Champion… We are all top drivers, all very competitive and with lots of respect for each other. So it would be very special to be able to win here in Miami, where I hope I will have a lot of support from the many local fans.”
Kanaan is another Indianapolis 500 regular, having become the first driver to lead the classic race on each of his first seven starts – before finally winning it for the first time in 2013. He also won the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2015, but ever since his Indy Lights debut in 1996 the Brazilian has focused on American open-wheel racing. Kanaan has amassed a total of 17 wins and was crowned the IndyCar Series champion in 2004, a season in which he was the first driver to complete every lap.
That was also the year that Kanaan made his only previous appearance at the Race Of Champions at the Stade de France in Paris. He partnered F1 driver Felipe Massa to the ROC Nations Cup semi-finals for Brazil and enjoyed a memorable battle with World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb in the Frenchman’s own rally car. Now he will be back for more at ROC Miami inside Marlins Park on January 21-22, 2017.
Kanaan said: “I absolutely loved when I raced at the Race Of Champions in France back in 2004 and I always wanted to do it again. I live in Miami, so having the race here in my backyard is the perfect opportunity to be part of it and to race against the biggest names from motorsport around the world. I’m looking forward to seeing what ROC has put together for us to race at the Marlins Park. ROC is going to be a great addition to the roster of events hosted in Miami.”
The Race Of Champions is an annual contest which has been held for over 25 years. It brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, Le Mans, MotoGP, World Rally and action sports – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery. All the racing takes place in a stunning range of superfast cars.
The ROC event is run over two days: first comes the Race Of Champions itself (on Saturday, January 21) featuring a flat-out battle for individual glory. Then on Sunday, January 22 comes the ROC Nations Cup when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. In 2017, this will see America take on the rest of the world in a special contest in celebration of the host venue.
In recent years, ROC has visited the Stade de France in Paris (2004-2006), London’s Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), the ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium in Beijing (2009), Düsseldorf’s Esprit Arena (2010-2011), the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok (2012), Bushy Park Barbados (2014) and London’s former Olympic Stadium (2015).
Now the event is heading to the United States for the first time to soak up the heat of Miami. Florida’s sports fans will have a chance to watch the speediest action Marlins Park has ever seen as many of the world’s greatest drivers push to the absolute limit on a specially-designed racing track winding its way around the infield and outfield.
But that’s not all. The Race Of Champions has non-stop action from start to finish – featuring stunt shows on four wheels and two wheels plus DJs, cheerleaders and plenty of other entertainment to keep race fans on the edge of their seats.
ROC president Fredrik Johnsson said: “We are thrilled to announce that Juan Pablo and Tony will be with us for the first Race Of Champions on American soil in January. They have been competing at the highest level for 20 years and their recent wins at the Indianapolis 500 show they are both still at the top of their game.
“What’s more, they are both long-time residents of Miami so they should receive plenty of home support in January. Hopefully we will also welcome fans making the journey up from South America to cheer them on. This will be a special event and a unique chance to see some of the world’s greatest drivers in a stadium environment. Now the world’s race fans can prepare for an exciting weekend of non-stop action.”
Tickets for ROC Miami are now available via www.raceofchampions.com. For access to rights-free high-resolution imagery and to keep up with all the latest news ahead of this year’s event please visit www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook plus @raceofchampions and #ROCMiami on Twitter.