Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2019 16:23:25 +0000
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden, the two most recent American champions of the IndyCar Series, will represent the United States in this year’s Race Of Champions (ROC) that will be held later this month in Mexico City.
The duo was named last week by the all-star event’s officials to form Team USA for the two-day competition on Jan. 19-20 at the Foro Sol, the amphitheater that forms part of the Formula One road course at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
ROC draws race drivers from multiple disciplines — including IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One, sports cars and rallycross — and pits them against each other in a variety of identically prepared machines. The first day of competition is the Nations Cup, where drivers from the same country or region compete for national bragging rights. Drivers compete on their own on the second day to determine individual ROC champion.
In addition to Hunter-Reay and Newgarden, other IndyCar drivers already named to compete are three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and reigning Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion and 2019 IndyCar Series rookie Patricio O’Ward, who will be racing in front of his home fans. Among the other drivers competing are F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, sports car great Tom Kristensen and FIA Formula 3 champion Mick Schumacher, the son of legendary F1 driver Michael Schumacher.
Newgarden, the 2017 IndyCar Series champion for Team Penske, will be making his second ROC appearance. He made his ROC debut last year held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s a fun event and it will be fun having it in North America. Ryan and I are trying to represent America but there’s some really tough competition again this year. There’s a strong Mexican contingent this time around and I’m sure their fans will be really pumped to cheer them on.”
Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar Series champ and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner for Andretti Autosport, is set for a sixth ROC appearance. The 38-year-old Florida native raced twice on the Mexico City track in CART/Champ Car in 2003 and 2004, when part of the circuit ran through what was then a baseball stadium that is now the Foro Sol amphitheater.
“It is a spectacular event and a unique challenge to jump in and out of all the different cars as you go head-to-head with some of the best drivers in the world,” Hunter-Reay said. “So it is a tremendous honor to be invited to compete again. I’m proud to represent America, IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500, and I look forward to hearing the noise of the crowds in Mexico City, where the passion for motor sports is huge.”