Thu 05 November 2015
Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button has signed up to compete at the Race Of Champions on November 20-21 at London’s former Olympic Stadium.
Button, who races for McLaren Honda, has taken part in over 280 grands prix since his 2000 debut, with a total of 50 podium finishes and 15 wins to his name so far. But the undoubted highlight was his mind-blowing season in 2009, when he soared to the Formula 1 World Championship after a dominant year for Brawn GP.
The Englishman has made four previous appearances at the Race Of Champions, most recently in 2011. He has a strong record too, notably in 2009 when he reached the semi-finals of the individual Race Of Champions and the ROC Nations Cup final for Team GB in partnership with Andy Priaulx (pictured below). Now Button will aim to go a step further with the support of his home fans in London.
Drivers competing at ROC 2015 include F1 stars Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hülkenberg and Felipe Massa, nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Tom Kristensen, reigning World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg, reigning Formula E Champion Nelson Piquet Jr, Williams Martini Racing’s Official Test Driver Susie Wolff, British Touring Car great Jason Plato, 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, ROC Champion of Champions David Coulthard plus MotoGP world champions Mick Doohan and Jorge Lorenzo.
Now that mighty list of driving talent will be joined by Button, who will race for one of two separate teams representing the home nation England in the ROC Nations Cup. Button will partner his friend Alex Buncombe, the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series Champion, on one of the English teams – while the other will be made up of BTCC great Jason Plato and an as-yet-unnamed partner.
Button said: “I can’t wait to be back to the Race Of Champions again – and especially to be racing at home at London’s former Olympic Stadium. It is always a very special event with a good atmosphere. You’re racing against guys from your own series plus others from all over the world. We get to meet friends old and new from the different forms of motor sport so we enjoy our time both on and off the track.
“It’s always a lot of fun but everyone wants to put on a good show for the fans – and of course we only pretend to be taking it easy before giving it everything when we’re sitting in the car on the line. I look forward to partnering Alex Buncombe in the ROC Nations Cup too. Germany had an annoying habit of beating us at Wembley in 2007 and 2008 so it's about time we made it all the way now we’ll be racing on the other side of London. Now all I can do is urge any race fans out there to get themselves to the former Olympic Stadium later this month to give us a cheer…”
The Race Of Champions is an annual end-of-season contest which has been running for over 25 years. It brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines – including F1, Le Mans, Rallycross, Touring Cars, IndyCar and MotoGP – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
The event is run over two days: first comes the ROC Nations Cup (on the evening of Friday November 20) when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. Then on the afternoon of Saturday November 21 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 as ‘Champion of Champions’.
ROC president Fredrik Johnsson said: “We are delighted to welcome Jenson back to the Race Of Champions in front of his home crowds later this month. He has always been a hugely entertaining performer at the event and no doubt the London fans will spur him on to even greater heights this time.
“Jenson definitely has some unfinished business at the Race Of Champions and I’m sure he’ll also give everything he has in the ROC Nations Cup. Of course we are only too happy to include two English teams this time in front of their home fans. Jenson and Alex will make an exciting line-up and give the crowds something big to support, while we are still working on the partner for Jason on the other ‘Team England’. Now we look forward to a welcoming a full house to cheer them all on later this month.”
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) and Bushy Park Barbados (2014). Now the contest is returning to its European roots at the iconic home of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Tickets for ROC 2015 in London 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 #ROCLondon on Twitter.
Drivers already announced for the 2015 Race Of Champions:
Drivers confirmed for the ROC Celebrity Skills Challenge presented by TAG Heuer: