Tue 03 November 2015
American IndyCar great Ryan Hunter-Reay has signed up to compete at the Race Of Champions on November 20-21 at London’s former Olympic Stadium.
Hunter-Reay won the famous Borg-Warner Trophy and the legendary bottle of milk as he triumphed in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time last year. But it was no easy ride for the American in the biggest single-day spectator event in world sport. After a six-lap closing battle with Brazil’s Helio Castroneves, Hunter-Reay sealed victory by just 0.06s, the second closest finish and the second fastest race in the history of the motor sport classic.
Hunter-Reay is the most successful American driver currently racing in open-wheel competition in the world today, with more race wins than all of the other current open wheel American drivers combined, and the only driver to have taken victories in IndyCar, CART, ChampCar, ALMS, and GrandAm. He won the overall IndyCar Series title in 2012 and took two late victories this year as part of a strong finish that sets him up perfectly for another assault on the crown in 2016.
The American driver made his Race Of Champions debut in 2012 – and he enjoyed a fine return last year in Barbados when he won five of his six group heats. Now this month’s ROC 2015 at London’s former Olympic Stadium will be Hunter-Reay’s third consecutive appearance against a line-up of greats from all over the world.
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, ROC Champion of Champions David Coulthard plus MotoGP world champions Mick Doohan and Jorge Lorenzo.
Hunter-Reay said: “I’m delighted to be returning to the Race Of Champions for the third time. Fredrik Johnsson and his ROC team put on such a spectacular event and I’ve really enjoyed my first two appearances in Bangkok and Barbados. It’s great fun to go head-to-head with some of the best drivers from the top motorsport disciplines from around the world.
“It’s a unique challenge to jump in and out of all the cars – when you get such a short amount of seat time in each. However, last year I won five out of my six races in the groups so I hope I’m starting to get the hang of it! Now I’ll see if I can convert that into a good run through the knockout stages too. I'm proud to represent America, IndyCar and the Indy 500 in such a prestigious event and I look forward to hearing the noise of the crowds at London’s former Olympic Stadium later this month.”
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.
ROC president Fredrik Johnsson said: “It’s great news that Ryan is joining us at the Race Of Champions once again. Last year’s Indianapolis 500 was a true classic and Ryan did brilliantly to hold off his rivals by such a tiny margin after that thrilling dice to the chequered flag. As the veteran of such a close finish he should fit right in at ROC, where we specialise in races that end up separated by just fractions of a second.
“We can now look forward to seeing Ryan take on greats from all over the world of motor sport at London’s former Olympic Stadium later this month – and he’s sure to be a serious threat. We’re expecting a truly cosmopolitan crowd to match our global mix of drivers and we hope to see many of the Europe-based American population making the trip to cheer on Ryan against our mighty field featuring some of the very best drivers on the planet.”
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: