|Gasly and Duval|
Formula 1 racer Pierre Gasly and Le Mans 24 Hours winner LoÃ¯c Duval have become the latest drivers to sign up for the Race Of Champions – on January 19-20, 2019 at the Foro Sol, the iconic stadium section forming part of Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos RodrÃguez Formula 1 circuit.
Gasly and Duval will also join forces for Team France, competing against a mighty field featuring F1 legends Sebastian Vettel and David Coulthard, ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen, triple Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, IndyCar champions Ryan Hunter-Reay and Josef Newgarden, reigning World RallyX Champion Johan Kristoffersson, Formula E Champion Lucas di Grassi plus F3 European Champion Mick Schumacher and Mexican racers Memo Rojas, Daniel Suarez, Benito Guerra and Patricio O’Ward.
Pierre Gasly is one of the hottest properties in global motorsport right now, having just secured a move to leading Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing-Honda for 2019. The Frenchman earned the switch after sealing the GP2 series in 2016 and making an impressive start to his F1 career with Red Bull Racing’s sister team Toro Rosso.
Now Gasly has also earned his first invitation to compete at the Race Of Champions next weekend in Mexico City.
Gasly said: “It’s a big honor to be taking part in the Race Of Champions for the first time. I’ve known about the event for many years, and I’m excited to see how it works first-hand at last. I know France has a rich tradition of driving success at the event so I’m looking forward to aiming for another strong performance in partnership with LoÃ¯c in the ROC Nations Cup. Most of all I’m looking forward to hearing the noise of the Mexican crowds. I know the Foro Sol well from Formula 1, it’s a spectacular venue and we will all put on a great show for the fans."
LoÃ¯c Duval has had an impressive career of his own, taking him to series ranging from DTM to Formula E. But his finest hour to date came at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours (pictured above) when he took victory for Audi alongside Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen, who is also in the field for next weekend’s ROC Mexico. The trio also went on to seal that year’s World Endurance Championship.
Now Duval will be making his own Race Of Champions debut in Mexico City, and he will also have the chance to team up with Gasly for Team France in the ROC Nations Cup on Saturday 19 January.
Duval added: “I’ve watched the Race Of Champions for years, and I’ve always been hoping I’d get a chance to have a go for myself. Now it’s happening for real, I can’t wait to take on all these great drivers from motorsport series all over the world – not least in the ROC Nations Cup for Team France alongside Pierre. The event looks like an amazing experience and I’m sure the atmosphere at the Foro Sol will be special. Roll on next weekend…"
The Race Of Champions is an annual contest which has a history dating back over 30 years. 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. Formula 1 World Champions Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have raced against NASCAR stars Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Busch brothers Kyle and Kurt, IndyCar’s Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Hunter-Reay, World Rally greats Sebastien Loeb, Sebastien Ogier and Colin McRae, as well as prominent figures from other classes including record Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, X Games legend Travis Pastrana plus MotoGP icons Mick Doohan, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
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.
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “We’ve had so many great French drivers join us at the Race Of Champions down the years – and now we are delighted that Pierre and LoÃ¯c will join us in Mexico City next weekend. Pierre is one of the brightest stars in the current Formula 1 field, and he’s sure to be a serious contender next season in the Red Bull Racing-Honda. LoÃ¯c has been there and done that in all forms of global motorsport, and he has a Le Mans triumph to prove it.
“Both Pierre and Loic are making their Race Of Champions debuts but they have proved to be very quick in everything they have driven so I’m sure that will help them adapt and be competitive – both in the ROC Nations Cup for Team France and in the individual Race Of Champions. There’s still time to secure your tickets to watch how they get on in this festival of global motorsport, but there’s not long to go until next weekend, so now’s the time to act…"