Tue 30 October 2018
Four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and 13-time F1 grand prix winner David Coulthard have become the first drivers confirmed to compete at the Race Of Champions on January 19-20, 2019 at the Foro Sol, the amphitheatre forming part of Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Formula 1 circuit.
Vettel became the youngest driver ever to win the Formula 1 world championship when he took his first title in a last-race thriller in 2010. The German then cemented his place among the sport’s all-time greats by following it with three further triumphs in the next three seasons.
Since his switch to Scuderia Ferrari Vettel has again been a regular title challenger, and this year he took five wins and five poles but missed out on the championship after last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix. Now he has a chance to make immediate amends at the very same venue by bidding for glory at ROC Mexico.
Vettel has an impressive record at the Race Of Champions too. He made his debut at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2007, immediately partnering countryman Michael Schumacher to ROC Nations Cup glory for Team Germany. The pair went on to keep the trophy until 2012 with victories in Beijing, Düsseldorf and Bangkok, leaving them with a record six consecutive ROC Nations Cup wins. Vettel finally took the individual ROC ‘Champion of Champions’ title at London’s Olympic Stadium 2015 and he won the ROC Nations Cup single-handed for Team Germany at Miami last year, after his team-mate Pascal Wehrlein had to withdraw.
Vettel said: “I’m delighted to be coming back to the Race Of Champions, which has been a regular part of my racing life ever since I arrived in Formula 1. All the drivers who have the honour to participate in ROC fall in love with the event. That’s because it reminds us all about why we first started racing; pure competition in identical cars.
“Now ROC Mexico promises to be an amazing event in the spectacular Foro Sol, which is already a favourite for us F1 drivers and fans all over the world. I think this will be an ideal venue for the Race Of Champions, which has always been about making sure all the fans can see every corner of the action. The racing is intense on the track and everyone wants to win, but it’s also about putting on a great show for the fans, so we all look forward to showing everyone what we can do and of course I will do everything I can to win again!”
David Coulthard also enjoyed a fine Formula 1 career, taking 13 grand prix wins and finishing in the world championship top three no less than five times in over a decade at the top. He later spent three years in Germany’s DTM championship before retiring to focus on other interests including his role as a television commentator.
Coulthard has lost none of the skills that made him such a formidable competitor, as shown by a mighty run of success in the Race Of Champions. The Scotsman heads to ROC Mexico as the reigning ROC Champion of Champions, having seen off a field of motorsport legends to win the title in Riyadh earlier this year. That makes him a rare double winner of the trophy as he also emerged victorious in Barbados in 2014.
Coulthard said: “It is an ongoing mystery why I’m still having so much success at the Race Of Champions when I’m up against drivers who are younger and more talented than me! But that’s the nature of the knockout system. I’m sure the law of averages will catch up with me soon, but until it does I’ll keep going out there and showing the kids how it’s done…
“Now that I’ve officially retired from racing, to be honest I’m always surprised when (ROC President) Fredrik Johnsson invites me. But I’m delighted when he does. The camaraderie with all the other drivers is special and the Race Of Champions is so much fun for drivers and fans. The stadium environment is what makes it special: you look down on the cars from the grandstands so it gives you a view you wouldn’t get in many venues. If anyone wants a reminder of why they enjoy motor sport, they should come along. I look forward to seeing you all in Mexico City in January.”
The Race Of Champions is an annual contest which has a history dating back over 30 years. It brings together many of the world’s greatest drivers from motorsport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, Le Mans, World Rally and RallyX – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
The Foro Sol will join a list of prestigious venues to have hosted ROC since 1988 – including Beijing’s Bird’s Nest and London’s Olympic stadiums, Stade de France in Paris, Wembley Stadium in London, Miami’s Marlins Park plus a wide range of exotic locations all over the world from Bangkok to Barbados to Riyadh.
The event enjoys a rich record of attracting global superstars from every corner of motorsport. Formula 1 World Champions Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have raced against NASCAR stars Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Busch brothers Kyle and Kurt, IndyCar’s Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Hunter-Reay, World Rally greats Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier and Colin McRae, as well as prominent figures from other classes including record Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, X Games legend Travis Pastrana plus MotoGP icons Mick Doohan, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
Now the greats of Mexican motorsport have the chance to race some of the world’s best drivers – all in ROC’s identical machinery. The competitors will take to the track in a stunning range of supercars that have been specially prepared for ROC to push them to the absolute limit. To prevail, they will have to master this mix of machines, forcing them to adapt their driving style as they make regular switches between cars and putting all their hard-earned skills to the test.
It makes for a thrilling spectacle, with head-to-head races often decided by fractions of a second – as the screams of the crowd compete for supremacy with the screams of the engines…
The Race Of Champions is run over two days: first comes the ROC Nations Cup (on Saturday January 19) when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality – including the hosts Mexico – to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. Then on Sunday January 20 it’s time for the Race Of Champions itself, when teamwork goes out of the window and it’s a flat-out battle for individual glory.
But that’s not all. The Race Of Champions is a non-stop show from start to finish and also features stunt shows on four wheels and two plus DJs, cheerleaders and plenty of other entertainment to keep the race fans on the edge of their seats.
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “It’s brilliant news that Sebastian and David will join us at this year’s Race Of Champions. Seb has proved himself to be one of the greatest drivers of all time with four F1 world championships and counting. He may have missed out on title number five this year, but no doubt that will make him even more determined to show the rest of our ROC field what he’s got in the identical supercars at the Race Of Champions.
“As for DC, well… all I can say is he hasn’t lost any of the magic. He keeps coming to the Race Of Champions and showing the current greats of motorsport how to do it, as proved by his two ROC Champion of Champions crowns. Can he do it yet again? You could be there to find out….
“This is a special chance to see these racing legends in action up close in a stadium setting and we look forward to welcoming a full house to Mexico City’s stunning Foro Sol in January to enjoy the show.”
Ticket prices start at just $1,450 pesos for two days of non-stop action, but there are fewer than 20,000 seats still available, so fans are advised to act now. Further details about the competing drivers will be announced in the run-up to January’s event.
For access to rights-free high-resolution imagery and to keep up with all the latest news ahead of ROC Mexico please visit www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook plus @raceofchampions and #ROCMexico on Twitter.