|Tom Kristensen and David Coulthard|
'Mr Le Mans' Tom Kristensen and reigning FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson have become the latest drivers confirmed to compete at the Race Of Champions – on January 19-20, 2019 at the Foro Sol, the amphitheatre forming part of Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Formula 1 circuit.
The two racers have reached the top of the world in two very different disciplines of motorsport: Kristensen in endurance races lasting up to 24 hours, Kristoffersson in the controlled mayhem of World Rallycross. Now they will compete against a Race Of Champions field that already features Formula 1 legends Sebastian Vettel and David Coulthard plus FIA F3 European Champion Mick Schumacher and Mexican racers Memo Rojas, Daniel SuÃ¡rez, Benito Guerra and Patricio O'Ward – and the pair will join forces in the ROC Nations Cup for Team Nordic.
Denmark’s Kristensen is acknowledged as the finest endurance racer in motorsport history. He has a record nine wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours and he sealed the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2013. The Dane also has a wealth of experience of competition in the United States, having taken a record six wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring plus an American Le Mans Series title.
Since his retirement from WEC in 2014, Kristensen has continued to compete at the Race Of Champions. He remains a serious contender too, twice winning the ROC Nations Cup trophy and reaching the individual Grand Final no less than four times. In Mexico Kristensen will add yet another mark in the history books, equalling Stig Blomqvist’s overall record of 15 ROC appearances.
Kristensen said: “I’ve been coming to the Race Of Champions for so long, it remains the one exception to my status as a ‘retired’ driver. ROC is a very special event and I am always very honoured to take part. The challenge is to race against top drivers from a wide range of motor sport series. It is a lot of fun to take on the young guns too, and I’m especially looking forward to teaming up with Johan on Team Nordic. I first met him in Gotland in Sweden when he was still a boy – and I’ve followed his impressive career with great interest ever since.
“Of course I’m still waiting to take home the individual trophy so hopefully I can rectify that in Mexico City at long last. Either way, it’s always a great weekend and we also enjoy meeting up with race fans from all over the world. Most of all I hope we can give all the race fans in Mexico a show to remember."
Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson has a versatile motor sport background, with Porsche Carrera Cup and Scandinavian Touring Car Championship titles to his name. He has since become all but invincible in the FIA World Rallycross Championship, incredibly winning 11 of the 12 events in 2018. That run means he wrapped up his second title weeks ago, to add to his championship from last year.
Kristoffersson also made an impressive ROC debut earlier this year in Riyadh, taking three wins out of three in the ROC Nations Cup group stages for Team Sweden, who were eventually knocked out only on countback of fastest lap times. He then made it into the semi-finals of the individual Race Of Champions before being knocked out by his World Rallycross team-mate Petter Solberg. Now he will aim to go a step further on his return in Mexico City.
Kristoffersson said: “I’m super excited to be back at the Race Of Champions for the second year. Last year was a good experience with some good battles before I was beaten by my rallycross team-mate Petter Solberg, so this year I’m out for revenge! It’s a big challenge to compete against some of the best drivers in the world, but the aim is still to come out on top. Most importantly I will have fun and enjoy the racing."
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, World Rally 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 Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien 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.
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “It’s wonderful news that Tom and Johan will be coming to ROC Mexico in January. The Race Of Champions has long been about bringing together drivers from a wide range of motorsport disciplines – and you can’t find two more different specialities than Le Mans and World Rallycross. Yet when you send them out onto the ROC track in identical cars, it’s amazing how these legendary drivers all share the most critical factor of all: raw speed.
“Johan is so dominant in the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the moment, it is no surprise he made such an impressive ROC debut in Riyadh. Now he’s sure to be one of the leading contenders in Mexico City. But first he’ll have to see off his Team Nordic partner Tom, who will be equalling Stig Blomqvist’s all-time record for ROC appearances so he has experience on his side. Who will come out on top? We look forward to welcoming you to Mexico City in January to enjoy the show."
Ticket prices start at just $1,450 pesos for two days of non-stop action. Further details about the field of drivers will be announced in the run-up to January’s event.
For access to rights-free high-resolution imagery and to keep up with all the latest news ahead of ROC Mexico please visit www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook plus @raceofchampions and #ROCMexico on Twitter.