The draw for this weekend’s Race Of Champions (19-20 January) has thrown up a selection of mouth-watering match-ups. 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. They feature some of the world’s best drivers from series including F1, IndyCar, NASCAR, Rallycross as well as Le Mans.
The home crowd will also have plenty to cheer
Mexican drivers will 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. Meanwhile, home F1 star Esteban Gutierrez will go up against Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly.
Mick Schumacher will also have a potential race against Vettel. This will happen if he wins his first-round playoff with Mexican sportscar ace Memo Rojas.
Mexico’s 2018 Indy Lights Champion Patricio O’Ward will battle ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen as well as 13-time F1 grand prix winner David Coulthard. Meanwhile, World RallyX Champion Johan Kristoffersson will face Formula E Champion Lucas di Grassi. He will also race 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.
The weekend’s action will begin with Saturday’s ROC Nations Cup
10 teams are split over three groups. The top two will move on to the semi-finals while the winners of Group B and Group C will also progress. The knockout rounds are best-of-three. If the score is a tie after two heats, the third one will be decisive. There will contest the two winning drivers.
Meanwhile, Britain’s triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx completed the ROC Mexico line-up. He 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.”
The track was completed today ahead of the first practice laps by some of the ROC Mexico competitors
They include ‘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.
ROC Nations Cup Draw (Saturday, 19 January)
GERMANY (Sebastian Vettel & Mick Schumacher)
MEXICO (Esteban Gutierrez & Patricio O’Ward)
INFINITUM MEXICO (Memo Rojas & Benito Guerra)
FRANCE (Pierre Gasly & Loïc Duval)
BRAZIL (Helio Castroneves & Lucas di Grassi)
TELCEL MEXICO (Daniel Suárez & ROC Mexico Saturday winner)
SIM RACING ALL STARS (Enzo Bonito & eROC winner)
NORDIC (Tom Kristensen & Johan Kristoffersson)
GREAT BRITAIN (David Coulthard & Andy Priaulx)
USA (Ryan Hunter-Reay & Josef Newgarden)
Race Of Champions Draw (Sunday 20 January)
David Coulthard (Great Britain) 13-time Formula 1 grand prix winner
Tom Kristensen (Denmark) nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner
Patricio 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) 2019 Formula 1 / Red Bull Racing
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 as well as the 2019 eROC Champion
Pick a winner for:
– Race Of Champions 🏆
– ROC Nations Cup 🏆
— #ROCMexico (@RaceOfChampions) January 16, 2019