Triple V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup and five-time 500cc MotoGP world champion Mick Doohan will compete for Team Australia at the 2012 Race Of Champions in Bangkok, Thailand
Whincup, fresh from victory in last weekend’s classic Bathurst 1000, will make his ROC debut while Doohan returns for his fifth appearance
The Australian duo join a field featuring Formula 1 world champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel for ROC 2012 on December 14-16
Team Australia will have a star-studded pairing for the 2012 Race Of Champions as triple V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup lines up alongside motorcycling legend Mick Doohan at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium on December 14-16.
The end-of-season contest, which is being staged for the 25th consecutive year in 2012, brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans, Indycar and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 15 December, before the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday 16 December.
Whincup has dominated Australia’s popular V8 Supercar series of late, taking the title in 2008, 2009 and 2011. He also leads this year’s championship after he took victory in the classic Bathurst 1000 for the fourth time at the weekend, this time by just 0.3s. Now he will become the first Aussie V8 racer to appear at the Race Of Champions, earning the chance to take on motor sport’s biggest names from all over the globe.
Doohan is of course better known for his exploits on two wheels following a career including over 50 wins and five straight 500cc MotoGP world championships in the Nineties. But he knows how to handle four-wheeled machinery too and this will be his fifth appearance at a Race Of Champions event.
Doohan will team up with Whincup in a ROC Nations Cup field that already features a total of nine Formula 1 world championships courtesy of Team Germany’s Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, who also took victory in last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. They will be joined by plenty more motor sport legends in the run-up to December’s event in Bangkok.
Whincup said: “Having watched all the greatest racing drivers compete and have so much fun driving world class cars on my television from Down Under, I couldn't be any more excited about participating for my first time at the Race Of Champions in Bangkok this December. Being a ROC virgin I am not setting my expectations too high but I will have some fun and hope my big Aussie V8 experience helps me.”
Doohan said: “I’m looking forward to racing with Jamie for Team Australia as we only live a kilometre away from each other on the Gold Coast. The Race Of Champions is a fun event where it’s friendly off the track but the goodwill evaporates when we’re waiting to blast away from the start line. As usual I’ll be aiming to prove that anyone underestimating us bikers is making a big mistake…”
Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson added: “We’re delighted to have Team Australia back in the ROC Nations Cup for the first time since 2009. Mick is a true legend of his sport who always gives the car specialists a run for their money and we are very excited to have Jamie on board. We are always looking to expand ROC’s horizons and this is the first time we will have a V8 Supercar champion in our field. It will be fascinating to see how they get on against the world’s best racers in Bangkok.”
After recent visits to London’s Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium (2009) and Dusseldorf’s ESPRIT arena (2010-2011), ROC 2012 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium. Built for the 1998 Asian Games, the 50,000-capacity stadium has since hosted Thailand’s home football matches plus athletics, pop concerts and even political rallies.
Tickets go on sale on October 15. For further information, access to hi-res imagery and details about media accreditation please visit www.raceofchampions.com. Sign up for all the latest updates at www.raceofchampions.com, @raceofchampions on Twitter or Race Of Champions on Facebook.
Drivers confirmed for the 2012 Race Of Champions so far:
Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion (Team Germany)
Sebastian VETTEL, Formula 1 World Champion 2011, 2010 (Team Germany)
Ryan HUNTER-REAY, IndyCar Series Champion 2012 (Team USA)