Thu 17 January 2019
This weekend’s Race Of Champions – at the Foro Sol stadium section of Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez F1 circuit – will feature a pursuit-style track specially designed by rally legend and ROC co-founder Michèle Mouton and ROC’s Test and Stunt Driver Terry Grant.
The track was completed today ahead of the first practice laps by some of the ROC Mexico competitors – including ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen, Formula E Champion Lucas di Grassi, the 2018 eROC Champion Enzo Bonito plus Mexican drivers Memo Rojas, Benito Guerra and Esteban Gutierrez.
While most ROC events have featured a parallel track linked by a crossover bridge, this year the drivers will race on a cycling-style pursuit track, similar to the one used at London’s Olympic Stadium for the 2015 Race Of Champions.
Each driver will start from a point halfway around the track from their rival. To rev up the tension even further, the track has been designed so the two racers will start next to each other but facing in opposite directions. At the green light they will speed off in a bid to hunt each other down. It all builds up to the big finish – also approached from opposite ends – where there can only be one winner, often decided only by fractions of a second.
The traditional knockout format will otherwise be the same for both the ROC Nations Cup and the individual Race Of Champions, with tension building via quarter-finals and semi-finals all the way to the Grand Final when the last two drivers will battle for the ultimate title of ‘Champion of Champions’.
ROC president Fredrik Johnsson said: “This weekend’s ROC Mexico will see some of the world’s greatest drivers competing on a very special racetrack.
“Our new pursuit-style track was a big hit when we introduced it at London’s Olympic Stadium three years ago. The tight finishes it generates are spectacular, with the two cars flying towards the finishing line from opposite directions. The emphasis remains firmly on driver skill alone and the finishes will be as close as ever, with races often decided only by fractions of a second. The crowds at the Foro Sol are in for a treat as the greats of motorsport hunt each other down all the way to the flag…”
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 is celebrating its 30th edition this weekend. 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.