Team India will return to the 2013 Race Of Champions in Bangkok with the pairing of former F1 drivers Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan
Chandhok and Karthikeyan made a successful ROC debut in 2012 as they won the inaugural ROC Asia title ahead of China, Japan and Thailand
The pair join F1 great Michael Schumacher, Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen and WRC king Sébastien Ogier in the field for ROC 2013 on December 14-15
India will be represented in the Race Of Champions for the second time after Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan signed up for ROC 2013, to be held at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium on the weekend of December 14-15.
Chandhok and Karthikeyan are the only Indian drivers ever to have competed in F1 and both have extensive racing pedigrees elsewhere too. Chandhok is a race-winner in GP2 and has since turned his hand to endurance racing with strong finishes in the last two Le Mans 24-Hour races. Karthikeyan has taken victories in everything from British F3 to A1GP and Superleague Formula before enjoying considerable success this year in AutoGP including a haul of five wins.
The two drivers joined forces for Team India at last year’s inaugural ROC Asia. They duly topped the group stages with four wins out of six against their competitors from China, Japan and host nation Thailand before defeating the Japanese duo in the final to take the title. That performance has now earned Chandhok and Karthikeyan an invitation to return to the scene of their triumph in Bangkok for ROC 2013.
Chandhok said: “I'm very excited to be going back to Bangkok for the Race Of Champions. Narain and I had a great time together last year and it was fantastic to be the first ROC Asia winners. ROC is a unique event from a competitive and social perspective and it's something that every driver looks forward to. It was really nice to drive such a variety of cars and we both have more experience this year and know a bit more about how it all works. The chance to spend time with such a great mix of drivers from a huge variety of championships around the world is a lot of fun and I hope we once again get a good crowd at the stadium.”
Karthikeyan added: “It will be a great privilege to represent India again at the Race Of Champions. We had a great time at our first attempt when we won ROC Asia but it is always a challenge to jump into different cars and adapt quickly. However, with the experience of the 2012 event behind us, we feel more confident and better prepared this time. As always, going head to head with world champions like Michael Schumacher and Sébastian Ogier is something we're looking forward to.”
Held every year since 1988, the Race Of Champions brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, World Rally, Le Mans, MotoGP, Nascar, IndyCar, Touring Cars and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
ROC 2013 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 14 December, ahead of the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday 15 December.
ROC features stars from all over the world: seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and newly-crowned World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier have already signed up and the rest of the 2013 field will be announced in the run-up to December’s event.
Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson said: “We’re really happy to have Karun and Narain back at the Race Of Champions again. They raced very well last year on their way to victory in ROC Asia and their performance generated plenty of headlines among the burgeoning ranks of motor sport fans in India. So we hope to see many of their fellow countrymen making the short trip to Bangkok this time to cheer them on.”
Ticket details will be released shortly. For further information, media accreditation and access to high-resolution imagery please visit www.raceofchampions.com. Sign up for all the latest updates at www.raceofchampions.com, via Race Of Champions on Facebook or @raceofchampions and the hashtag #BangROC on Twitter.
The driver line-up for the 2012 Race Of Champions included:
Michael SCHUMACHER, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion
Sebastian VETTEL, Formula 1 World Champion 2012, 2011, 2010
Jorge LORENZO, MotoGP World Champion 2012, 2010
Tom KRISTENSEN, nine-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner
Sébastien OGIER, World Rally Champion 2013
Romain GROSJEAN, six Formula 1 podiums in 2012 and 2013
Mick DOOHAN, five-time 500cc MotoGP World Champion