Tue 10 November 2015
The draw for the 2015 ROC Nations Cup at London’s former Olympic Stadium next Friday (November 20) has thrown up some stunning matches that will quicken the pulse of any race fan.
With a total of ten teams and 20 drivers, London is playing host to the biggest event in ROC Nations Cup history – featuring some of the world’s best drivers from series including F1, Le Mans, IndyCar, Rallycross, Touring Cars and MotoGP pairing up in teams based on country to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. And the draw has already guaranteed some tantalising ties as the driving greats bid for glory.
Team Germany’s Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hülkenberg have been drawn against Team Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Doohan in the quarter-finals – and the first race will see former Red Bull Racing team-mates Vettel and Ricciardo going head-to-head in equal machinery for the first time in a year.
Then the atmosphere in London’s former Olympic Stadium will get even more heated as last year’s ROC Nations Cup finalists Team Scotland (David Coulthard and Susie Wolff) take on Team England 2’s Jenson Button and Alex Buncombe. Once F1 rivals, Button and Coulthard will again battle for supremacy in the second heat as one of the oldest international rivalries in world sport plays out in unfamiliar sporting territory – in front of their passionate and partisan supporters.
If that’s not enough to whet the appetite of home fans, how about England v Brazil? Team England 1 (Touring Car great Jason Plato with an as-yet-unnamed second driver) have been drawn against Team Brazil’s Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet Jr in Round 1, which involves four teams racing off to reach the last eight.
Newly-crowned MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo will join forces with another former ROC Champion of Champions Romain Grosjean for Team All Stars. They will start their campaign against Team Young Stars: Jolyon Palmer (who will be replacing Grosjean at Lotus F1 Team next year) and 2015 DTM Champion Pascal Wehrlein.
There are two drivers still to be revealed – Jason Plato’s partner on Team England 1 and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay’s partner on Team Americas.
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “What a line-up we have in store for the ROC Nations Cup next Friday evening. Race fans will be as excited as I am to watch who comes out on top as Sebastian Vettel takes on Daniel Ricciardo in identical cars. We hope the home fans will then be at their partisan best as Jenson Button races David Coulthard and the classic England-Scotland rivalry resumes. With lots more enticing ties in the draw, it’s still not too late to get tickets – but now’s the time to get racing…”
Team ALL STARS v Team YOUNG STARS (Match A)
Romain Grosjean v Pascal Wehrlein
Jorge Lorenzo v Jolyon Palmer
Team ENGLAND 1 v Team BRAZIL (Match B)
Driver 1 (tba) v Nelson Piquet Jr
Jason Plato v Felipe Massa
Team NORDIC v Team AMERICAS (Match A)
Tom Kristensen v Driver 1 (tba)
Petter Solberg v Ryan Hunter-Reay
Team AUSTRALIA v Team GERMANY
Daniel Ricciardo v Sebastian Vettel
Mick Doohan v Nico Hülkenberg
Team ENGLAND 2 v Team SCOTLAND
Alex Buncombe v Susie Wolff
Jenson Button v David Coulthard
Winner Match A v Winner Match B
Romain Grosjean/Pascal Wehrlein v Team England 1 Driver/Nelson Piquet Jr
Jorge Lorenzo/Jolyon Palmer v Jason Plato/Felipe Massa
NB All matches are best-of-three, with the two winning drivers racing in the third heat if required. After the quarter-finals it’s a straight knockout tournament with further best-of-three matches leading to the semi-finals and the final.
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’.
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 confirmed for the 2015 ROC Nations Cup:
Drivers confirmed for the ROC Celebrity Skills Challenge presented by TAG Heuer: