Triple ROC Champion of Champions Mattias Ekström has completed the field for this month’s Race Of Champions on the snow and ice of Pite Havsbad in his home nation of Sweden on January 28-29
The versatile Ekström has won titles in everything from the DTM to FIA World Rallycross to the inaugural FIA eTouring Car World Cup in 2021. Now he will also partner five-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson in a bid for home glory for Team Sweden in the ROC Nations Cup
To win in front of their home fans, the Swedish pair must battle head-to-head with motorsport legends from all over the world on ROC’s iconic parallel track at this stunning venue on the frozen Baltic Sea, 60 miles from the Arctic Circle
The full ROC 2023 field includes Team Germany’s Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher, Team Finland’s Mika Hakkinen and Valtteri Bottas, Team USA’s Travis Pastrana and Tanner Foust, Team GB’s David Coulthard and Jamie Chadwick plus Team France’s Adrien Tambay and Sébastien Loeb
Also in action are Team Nordic’s Tom Kristensen and Felix Rosenqvist, Team All Stars’ Felipe Drugovich and Thierry Neuville plus Team Norway’s reigning champions, rallying father-and-son duo Petter and Oliver Solberg
Ekström will also do demo runs in the classic Audi S1 while 14-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel will show off the Audi RS Q e-tron, fresh from this year’s event – and the last few tickets are still available from Tickster
One of the world’s most versatile drivers Mattias Ekström has completed the line-up for this weekend’s Race Of Champions – which will be held on the snow and ice of his home country Sweden’s Pite Havsbad on January 28-29.
For two decades Ekström has enjoyed a glittering career in motorsport of all kinds, winning titles in everything from the DTM (2004 and 2007) to FIA World Rallycross (2016) before sealing the inaugural FIA eTouring Car World Cup in 2021. He is also a triple winner of the overall ROC Champion of Champions title. His first win came in Paris in 2006 at the expense of home favourite Sébastien Loeb, before he twice beat Michael Schumacher in the Grand Final – in 2007 at London’s Wembley Stadium and in 2009 in Beijing’s Olympic Stadium.
Today’s news means Ekström now has a chance to equal the all-time record of four ROC Champion of Champions crowns, held by Sébastien Loeb and Didier Auriol. But before the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday January 29, Ekström will also join forces with five-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson for Team Sweden in 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’.
To take glory in front of their home crowds, Team Sweden must defeat motorsport greats from all over the world on the frozen Baltic Sea, just 60 miles from the Arctic Circle. These include Team Norway’s reigning champions, father-and-son World Rally stars Petter and Oliver Solberg, Team Finland’s double Formula 1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen and 10-time F1 grand prix winner Valtteri Bottas plus Team Nordic’s IndyCar racer Felix Rosenqvist and ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen.
The ROC 2023 field also includes Team Germany’s Sebastian Vettel and his fellow F1 star Mick Schumacher, Team USA’s extreme sports legend Travis Pastrana and rallycross ace Tanner Foust plus Team GB’s 13-time F1 grand prix winner David Coulthard and triple W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick. Then there’s Team All Stars – reigning FIA Formula 2 Champion Felipe Drugovich and World Rally star Thierry Neuville – and Team France’s Adrien Tambay and Sébastien Loeb.
This means the ROC Sweden line-up features superstars from Formula 1, Formula 2, IndyCar, Le Mans, W Series, World Rally, World Rallycross, Nitro Rallycross and X-Games. All the racing takes place in identical machinery on ROC’s iconic parallel track, and the winners are decided by driver skill alone.
In addition to the racing action on track, Ekström will also carry out demo runs in the classic Audi S1, while 14-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel will show off the Audi RS Q e-tron car with which they both took on this month’s event. Sweden will be a different challenge for the car, not to mention very different temperatures from the deserts of Saudi Arabia.
Mattias Ekström said: “The Race Of Champions has meant a lot to me over the years – especially being able to win it in Paris, London and Beijing. It was also great to be able to show my Audi A4 DTM with some demo laps down the years. Now I’m really looking forward to lapping in the classic Audi S1, especially as we are in Sweden. It’s fantastic that Stéphane Peterhansel will lap in our Audi RS Q e-tron Dakar car too. The car has only rarely been seen in Europe as we usually run in the desert in Saudi Arabia and Morocco. So it will be great for the fans to come close and realise what it's all about.
“Other than that I’m looking forward to Pite Havsbad, a proper Swedish winter, and a lot of fans. Now it will be great to go there, join forces with Johan Kristoffersson for Team Sweden and try to claim another big trophy!”
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.
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “What a line-up of motorsport greats we have coming to join us at ROC Sweden this month. Mattias Ekström is not just one of the most versatile drivers on Earth, he is also one of the most successful drivers we’ve ever had at the Race Of Champions. Now he will be joining up with his fellow World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson, I’m sure Team Sweden will be one of the favourites to thrill their home fans with victory in the ROC Nations Cup. We can’t wait to welcome a packed house to cheer them on.”
The Chairman of Pite Havsbad Group Tobias Lindfors added: “We are thrilled to be welcoming such a fine field of drivers to Pite Havsbad this weekend. Now we know we will have Mattias Ekström and Johan Kristoffersson racing for Team Sweden, we look forward to seeing our unique winter arena packed full of fans to enjoy the show.”
The last few tickets for ROC Sweden are available from Tickster, but race fans are advised to act quickly to snap them up.