Wed 16 January 2019
The draw for this weekend’s Race Of Champions (19-20 January) has thrown up a selection of mouth-watering match-ups as some of the world’s greatest drivers bid for the title of ‘Champion of Champions’.
Mexico City’s Foro Sol – the iconic stadium section forming part of the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Formula 1 circuit – played host to today’s draw. ROC Mexico Project Manager Juan Pablo Sánchez and Mexican TV presenter Giselle Zarur picked the group line-ups. There are already a number of ties guaranteed to quicken the pulse of any race fan – featuring some of the world’s best drivers from series including F1, IndyCar, NASCAR, Rallycross and Le Mans.
The home crowd will have plenty to cheer as Mexican drivers take on the cream of the current Formula 1 grid in Sunday’s individual race. NASCAR ace Daniel Suárez will race four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel while home F1 star Esteban Gutierrez will go up against Red Bull Racing’s latest recruit Pierre Gasly.
Mick Schumacher will also have a potential race against his fellow German Vettel if he can win his first round play-off with Mexican sportscar ace Memo Rojas.
Elsewhere Mexico’s 2018 Indy Lights Champion Patricio O’Ward will have to battle ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen and 13-time F1 grand prix winner David Coulthard, while reigning World RallyX Champion Johan Kristoffersson will face Formula E Champion Lucas di Grassi and 2017 IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden.
The top two from each group will progress to the quarter-finals. Then it’s a straight knockout tournament all the way to the best-of-three Grand Final, in which the ROC Champion of Champions will be crowned.
Ahead of the individual Race Of Champions, the weekend’s action will begin with Saturday’s ROC Nations Cup where national pride is at stake, with 10 teams split over three groups.
Group A features four teams (Germany, Mexico, Infinitum Mexico and France), with the top two moving on to the semi-finals. The winners of Group B (Brazil, Telcel Mexico and Sim Racing All Stars) and Group C (Nordic, GB and USA) will also progress. The knockout rounds are best-of-three: if scores are tied at 1-1 after the first two heats, the third decisive heat is always contested by the two winning drivers.
The ROC Mexico line-up was today completed by Britain’s triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, who said: “The Race Of Champions is such a fun event and one I love taking part in. It is great to be pitched against the world’s best drivers and to know we are all on a level playing field. The cars are totally different to those we usually drive, so there is always a challenge to get used to them. Fredrik Johnsson and his team put on a great show so I can't wait to get to Mexico, catch up with everyone and start racing…”
Team GERMANY (Sebastian Vettel & Mick Schumacher)
Team MEXICO (Esteban Gutierrez & Patricio O’Ward)
Team INFINITUM MEXICO (Memo Rojas & Benito Guerra)
Team FRANCE (Pierre Gasly & Loïc Duval)
Team BRAZIL (Helio Castroneves & Lucas di Grassi)
Team TELCEL MEXICO (Daniel Suárez & ROC Mexico Saturday winner*)
Team SIM RACING ALL STARS (Enzo Bonito & eROC winner)
Team NORDIC (Tom Kristensen & Johan Kristoffersson)
Team GREAT BRITAIN (David Coulthard & Andy Priaulx)
Team USA (Ryan Hunter-Reay & Josef Newgarden)
David COULTHARD (Great Britain) 13-time Formula 1 grand prix winner
Tom KRISTENSEN (Denmark) nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner
Patricio O’WARD (Mexico) 2018 Indy Lights Champion
Winner of Round 1A between the ROC Mexico Sunday winner* and Andy PRIAULX
Johan KRISTOFFERSSON (Sweden) double FIA World Rallycross Champion
Lucas DI GRASSI (Brazil) 2016-2017 Formula E Champion
Josef NEWGARDEN (USA) 2017 IndyCar Champion
Winner of Round 1B between Loïc DUVAL and Helio CASTRONEVES
Sebastian VETTEL (Germany) four-time Formula 1 World Champion
Daniel SUAREZ (Mexico) 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series Champion
Benito GUERRA (Mexico) 2012 Production World Rally Champion
Winner of Round 1C between Memo ROJAS and Mick SCHUMACHER
Pierre GASLY (France) Formula 1 driver for Red Bull Racing in 2019
Esteban GUTIERREZ (Mexico) Formula 1 driver for Sauber and Haas
Ryan HUNTER-REAY (USA) 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner
Winner of Round 1D between Enzo BONITO and the 2019 eROC Champion
*Before each day’s action Mexican drivers Rubén García Jr, Pancho Name, Abraham Calderón, Martín Fuentes, Ricardo Triviño, Rubén Rovelo, Ricardo Sánchez and Ricardo Cordero will fight it out for a place in the ROC field.
The Race Of Champions is an annual contest which has a history dating back over 30 years. It brings together many of the world’s greatest drivers from motorsport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, Le Mans and RallyX – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
The Foro Sol will join a list of prestigious venues to have hosted ROC since 1988 – including Beijing’s Bird’s Nest and London’s Olympic stadiums, Stade de France in Paris, Wembley Stadium in London, Miami’s Marlins Park plus a wide range of exotic locations all over the world from Bangkok to Barbados to Riyadh.
The event enjoys a rich record of attracting global superstars from every corner of motorsport. Now the greats of Mexican motorsport have the chance to race some of the world’s best drivers – all in ROC’s identical machinery. The competitors will take to the track in a stunning range of supercars that have been specially prepared for ROC to push them to the absolute limit. To prevail, they will have to master this mix of machines, forcing them to adapt their driving style as they make regular switches between cars and putting all their hard-earned skills to the test.
It makes for a thrilling spectacle, with head-to-head races often decided by fractions of a second – as the screams of the crowd compete for supremacy with the screams of the engines…
The Race Of Champions is run over two days: first comes the ROC Nations Cup (on Saturday January 19) when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality – including the hosts Mexico – to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. Then on Sunday January 20 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.
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 DJs, cheerleaders and plenty of other entertainment to keep the race fans on the edge of their seats. Ticket prices start at just $1,450 pesos for two days of non-stop action.
> Watch a one-minute video all about ROC Mexico.
For access to rights-free high-resolution imagery and to keep up with all the latest news ahead of ROC Mexico please visit www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook plus @raceofchampions and #ROCMexico on Twitter.