Fri 05 January 2018
The next Race Of Champions – to be held on February 2-3, 2018 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at Riyadh’s King Fahd International Stadium – will feature a brand new competition for some of the world’s best gamers.
The first ever eRace Of Champions – created in association with Logitech G – will offer five of the planet’s fastest simracing specialists the chance to compete in real cars against some of the world’s greatest drivers.
The 2017 winner of the McLaren World’s Fastest Gamer Rudy van Buren (25) will be among the ‘Who’s Who’ of simracing specialists in action. He will be joined by 18-year-old Brendon Leigh, the first ever F1 esports champion, plus triple Project CARS World Champion Kevin Leaune (28), iRacing Blancpain GT3 Sprint champion and Multiple World Recordholder in Assetto Corsa and F1 2017 Enzo Bonito (22), and 2017 eWTCC Champion Alexander Dornieden (23).
Van Buren has been invited to compete in the main Race Of Champions as the virtual world champion thanks to winning the World’s Fastest Gamer title. He will be joined by the winner of the first eRace Of Champions as they initially compete both on the new ROC track in Assetto Corsa and in real competition cars both on the ROC Factor Skills Challenge Course and the main ROC Parallel Track. The gamer with the best total time in both the virtual and real world contests will be crowned the first eROC Champion and compete alongside van Buren.
The two gamers will race both in the ROC Nations Cup as ‘Team Simracing All Stars’ and in the individual Race Of Champions – with both events broadcast on live TV all over the world.
The gamers will be competing against some of the greatest names in the history of motorsport – including Indianapolis 500 winner and F1 veteran Juan Pablo Montoya, who will defend the ROC Champion of Champions crown he won in Miami last year. Fellow Indy 500 winners Helio Castroneves and Ryan Hunter-Reay will be in action too, alongside reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden.
‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen and double FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg will also race, as will 13-time F1 grand prix winner David Coulthard and newly crowned 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Champion Lando Norris.
Van Buren said: “World’s Fastest Gamer is already opening doors I could not have possibly imagined. The job as simulator driver is just the tip of the iceberg. To be competing as the virtual champion against champions of the real world is a dream for me. 2018 is going to be an amazing year and the Race Of Champions is a great way to kick it off.”
Kristian Tear, head of Logitech EMEA, added: “Logitech G has been involved in sim racing for 20 years with our steering wheels and pedals and is extremely proud to bring sim racing to this unique stage. eROC takes the development of the sport to new levels by offering the world’s best sim racers the chance to compete head to head against the greatest real world racers. This is the dream for many of our customers and the reason they race at home with our equipment.”
The Race Of Champions is an annual contest which is now in its 30th year. It brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, IndyCar, Le Mans, World Rally and the X Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
In recent years ROC has visited some of the world’s best stadiums: 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), Bushy Park Barbados (2014), London’s former Olympic Stadium (2015) and Miami’s Marlins Park (2017).
Now the event is heading to the Middle East for the first time to soak up the heat of Riyadh. Saudi motorsport fans will have a chance to watch the speediest action the city has ever seen as many of the world’s greatest drivers push to the absolute limit on a specially-designed tarmac track winding its way around the confines of the King Fahd International Stadium.
The Race Of Champions is run over two days: first comes the ROC Nations Cup (on Friday February 2) when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality – including the hosts Saudi Arabia – to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. Then on Saturday February 3 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. All the racing takes place in a stunning range of superfast cars.
But that’s not all. The Race Of Champions is a non-stop show from start to finish and also features stunt shows on four wheels and two plus plenty of other entertainment to keep the race fans on the edge of their seats.
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “At the Race Of Champions we are always aiming to come up with new ideas and innovations – and this first ever eRace Of Champions promises to be a fantastic addition to the weekend’s action.
“Simracing is getting huge all over the world and now some of the leading gamers will have the chance to prove their skills both in the real and the virtual racing world. I am delighted to have Rudy represent the virtual world as its champion and can’t wait to see who wins the eROC to also take on the world’s best drivers in identical competition cars on our unique ROC Parallel Track. It will be an incredible experience and fascinating for the rest of us to watch how they get on.”
For more information please visit 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 the website, Race Of Champions on Facebook plus @raceofchampions and #ROCRiyadh on Twitter.