Thu 19 November 2015
Six-time Olympic cycling gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy will have the chance to show off his skills on four wheels tomorrow evening after he was drafted in to replace Jorge Lorenzo in the ROC Nations Cup at London's former Olympic Stadium.
Lorenzo suffered second degree burns to his leg as he celebrated winning his third MotoGP World Championship in front of his home fans in Mallorca last week. Sadly the injury means he has now been forced to withdraw from this weekend's Race Of Champions.
Lorenzo said: "I'm really sad that I cannot go to the Race Of Champions this year but during the celebrations in Mallorca I burned my leg on the bike. I really hoped it would heal by now but due to potential complications from sweating inside the overalls, the doctors have forbidden me to do it. I know I would have had great fans supporting me in London so I'm sorry to be missing it. This is a great event and I hope you all enjoy watching all the action. Now I will try as hard as possible to be back at the Race Of Champions next year instead."
Click here to see a video of Jorge Lorenzo addressing the London fans ahead of this weekend's Race Of Champions.
Lorenzo had been scheduled to partner French F1 ace Romain Grosjean for Team All Stars on Friday. But now that honour will go to his fellow two-wheeled specialist Hoy, who is already an accomplished racing driver himself, having partnered Charlie Robertson to glory in the LMP3 class of this year's European Le Mans Series.
Hoy is currently aiming to compete in next year's Le Mans 24 Hours. But first he will get an early chance to see how he is progressing as he takes to the track against this field of driving legends on Friday – in the very stadium where he carried the flag for Team GB at the Opening Ceremony of London 2012. The pressure will be on him from the very start as his first race will be against next year's Lotus F1 Team recruit Jolyon Palmer and the Scotsman is under no illusions…
Hoy said: "I'm really excited to get this late call-up. I don't expect to be as fast as the real professionals but I'll do my very best. Of course I'm sorry to hear about Jorge's injury too but this is a wonderful opportunity and I'm really looking forward to it. Now I'll try to put on a show for the fans in the stadium in London tomorrow."
Lorenzo's place in the draw for Saturday's individual Race Of Champions will instead be taken by the winner of the ROC Factor. This competition has been run over social media in the build-up to this year's event, asking fans to vote for their two favourite amateur drivers from a total of ten finalists. The two who polled the most votes were Bradley Philpot and Des Foley, who will now have a shootout during Thursday practice to see who can join the greats on the track on Saturday.
The winner of the shootout will also join Hoy in the ROC Celebrity Skills Challenge presented by TAG Heuer on Friday evening – on a course which has been specially designed to test a range of driving skills including chicanes, slaloms, 360° turns and parallel parking. They will be joined in the chase for ROC glory by other big names from sport and elsewhere.
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 Formula 1, Le Mans, Rallycross, Touring Cars and IndyCar – 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'.
Tickets for ROC 2015 in London are still 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.
Driver line-up for the 2015 Race Of Champions:
Full line-up for the ROC Celebrity Skills Challenge presented by TAG Heuer: