2022 Formula 2 Champion Felipe Drugovich, IndyCar ace Felix Rosenqvist and World Rally star Thierry Neuville will make their Race Of Champions debut on the snow and ice of Sweden’s Pite Havsbad on January 28-29, 2023
Motorsport legends ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen and 13-time F1 grand prix winner David Coulthard are also among the latest list of drivers confirmed in the line-up for ROC Sweden
They will battle some of motorsport’s all-time greats head-to-head in identical cars on ROC’s iconic parallel track at this stunning venue on the frozen Baltic Sea – where the winner is decided by driver skill alone
The field already includes multiple F1 World Champions Sebastian Vettel and Mika Hakkinen, ten-time grand prix winner Valtteri Bottas, five-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson, Norway’s rallying father-and-son duo Petter and Oliver Solberg plus triple W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick
The full ROC Sweden driver line-up will be revealed in the run-up to January’s event, and tickets are already available from Tickster
A host of new drivers – from all-time legends to rising stars of the sport – have been confirmed to compete at the Race Of Champions (ROC) on the snow and ice of Sweden’s Pite Havsbad on January 28-29, 2023.
‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen and 13-time F1 grand prix winner David Coulthard are already ROC veterans, with a glittering collection of silverware to prove it. Now they will be joined in Sweden by ROC rookies including 2022 Formula 2 Champion Felipe Drugovich, IndyCar ace Felix Rosenqvist and World Rally star Thierry Neuville.
They will all face a mighty line-up of motorsport greats battling it out in identical machinery on ROC’s iconic parallel track, where the winners are decided by driver skill alone. All the action will take place at this stunning venue at Pite Havsbad on the frozen Baltic Sea, just 60 miles from the Arctic Circle.
The ROC Sweden field already includes multiple F1 World Champions Sebastian Vettel and Mika Hakkinen, ten-time grand prix winner Valtteri Bottas, five-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson, Norway’s rallying father-and-son duo Petter and Oliver Solberg plus triple W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick, who has just been signed up to race in IndyNXT for Andretti Autosport. So this new set of arrivals will have the toughest of tasks as they bid for glory.
This means the ROC 2023 line-up features superstars from Formula 1, Formula 2, IndyCar, Le Mans, W Series, World Rally and World Rallycross, with even more big names to be announced in the lead up to the event…
Felipe Drugovich, 2022 Formula 2 Champion
Felipe Drugovich arrives at his first Race Of Champions fresh from securing the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2022. The Brazilian driver took a total of five victories in his triumphant season, and his performance has now earned him the chance to take on some of motorsport’s all-time greats at ROC Sweden.
Drugovich said: “It’s an amazing opportunity to get to race against so many big names at the Race Of Champions. It will be tough for me going from asphalt to racing on snow and ice for the first time, but I will try to learn as quickly as possible. Whatever happens it will be a lot of fun and a fantastic experience.”
Belgium’s Thierry Neuville has an illustrious career in the World Rally Championship, with 17 victories and 55 podium finishes. He has finished as the overall WRC runner-up no less than five times and, having won the season-ending Rally Japan in 2022, he heads into 2023 as one of the favourites for the title. First he can draw on all his experience on different surfaces to tame the snow and ice of Pite Havsbad.
Neuville said: "I’m very happy to be part of the 2023 edition of the Race Of Champions! It’s a race I have always wanted to do and I’m really looking forward to competing on snow and ice on the frozen Baltic sea alongside motorsport legends! Driving on that kind of surface promises to be a lot of fun and I hope I can use my experience from Rally Sweden to perform at the top. I know the competition will be tough but, for sure, I’m aiming for the win and I will give my best to put on a good show over the weekend in Pite Havsbad.”
Thierry Neuville winner of 2022 WRC Rally Japan
Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist currently races for Arrow McLaren SP in the NTT IndyCar Series, having taken his first IndyCar win at Road America in 2020. He has a wide variety of motorsport experience behind him, not least as one of the most successful drivers in the history of Formula 3, with two wins at the Macau Grand Prix. Now he will aim for even more success in January in front of his home crowd.
Rosenqvist said: “I’m thrilled to finally make my debut in the Race Of Champions. It’s an event I’ve followed throughout my childhood all the way until today, and I actually attended it once at Wembley with my dad a few years ago. I have always enjoyed the challenge of driving different cars, and my career has been largely shaped by that curiosity, so I’m tremendously excited to try out the ROC platform and to do so in front of my home fans in Sweden!”
Felix Rosenqvist winner of IndyCar Road America 2020
Denmark’s Tom Kristensen, who has a record nine 24 Hours of Le Mans wins to his name, will now set a new record with his 17th Race Of Champions appearance. In that time he has reached the individual final five times and won the ROC Nations Cup (where drivers team up in pairs) three times: first in Paris in 2005 partnering Mattias Ekström for Team Scandinavia then twice for Team Nordic (2014 in Barbados with Petter Solberg and 2019 in Mexico City alongside Johan Kristoffersson).
Kristensen said: “The Race Of Champions is a special event, and I’m always quick to say yes when I’m invited – now a record 17 times! I’ve competed in ROC all over the world, from the gravel of Gran Canaria to asphalt at iconic stadiums everywhere from Beijing to London to Bangkok. Each track has unique challenges but Sweden’s snow and ice must be up there with the most fun we’ve ever had. Whatever happens, I will try to learn from my experience last year and give everything while trying to put on a fantastic show for the motorsport fans watching in Sweden and around the world.”
Tom Kristensen runner-up of the Race Of Champions 2015 in London Former Olympic Stadium
with ROC Champion Sebastian Vettel.
David Coulthard is another ROC veteran with a prestigious career that included 13 Formula 1 grand prix victories. He has also twice been crowned ROC Champion Of Champions – in Barbados in 2014 and in Riyadh in 2018. Now he will have to call on all his years of racing know-how to cope with the unique challenge of Sweden’s snow and ice, not to mention its very different temperatures…
Coulthard said: “What brings me back to the Race Of Champions year after year is the camaraderie between the drivers. It’s been a privilege to go up against legends from so many different fields of motorsport over the years, and many future stars too. This year’s line-up is no exception and it’s special to have a chance to race against young chargers like Felipe Drugovich. Racing on Sweden’s snow and ice earlier this year was a unique experience for me and a steep learning curve. In fact it was Tom Kristensen who knocked me out, but thanks to the whole spirit of ROC you race hard but you don’t get bitter when you lose. That won’t stop me wanting to get him back in January though…”
With a history dating back to 1988, the Race Of Champions is a unique festival of global motorsport where stars from series including Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, Le Mans, World Rally and Rallycross battle head-to-head in identical cars, with the winner decided by driver skill alone – often by fractions of a second. All the action takes place on a purpose-built parallel track featuring ROC’s iconic crossover bridge.
The Race Of Champions has been held at some of the world’s greatest venues – including Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, Stade de France in Paris, Wembley Stadium, London’s Olympic Stadium, Mexico City’s Foro Sol plus a wide range of exotic locations all over the globe from Bangkok to Miami to Riyadh to Barbados. But this year in Sweden was the first time it has ever been held on snow and ice.
The 2023 event at Pite Havsbad will start with the ROC Nations Cup on Saturday January 28 when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. Then all teamwork goes out of the window for the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday January 28.
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “We are delighted to have such a fantastic set of drivers already confirmed to race on the snow and ice of Sweden’s Pite Havsbad. Tom Kristensen is the most experienced driver in Race Of Champions history, while David Coulthard has twice been crowned ROC Champion of Champions. Now it will be fascinating to see how they get on against our ROC rookies: newly-crowned FIA F2 Champion Felipe Drugovich, IndyCar’s Felix Rosenqvist and World Rally’s Thierry Neuville. Added to the legends we’ve already lined up from F1, W Series and World Rallycross and the many more that will be confirmed in the coming month. One thing we can guarantee is that it will be quite a show.”
The Chairman of Pite Havsbad Group Tobias Lindfors added: “We have confirmed drivers from Formula 1, IndyCar, LeMans, World Rally and Rallycross. We are very excited to see who can tackle the track on the frozen sea best and take home victory. We look forward to welcoming them all to our unique winter arena.”
Full details about the line-up of competing drivers will be announced in the run-up to January’s event. In the meantime tickets are available from Tickster.