Hunter-Reay ready to roll at Race of Champions

Ryan Hunter-Reay was set to roll of pit lane Dec. 12 at Sebring International Raceway in the Andretti Autosport-prepared car for his final day of testing of 2012. The exercise, while benefitting preparations for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season, won't impact his next on-track adventure.

The reigning series champion will join other motorsports stars from around the globe to compete this weekend in the Race of Champions in Bangkok, Thailand. The event is being staged for the 25th consecutive year.

Drivers will battle head-to-head in identical machinery on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way around Rajamangala Stadium. Drivers also will pair up for the ROC Nations Cup.

Benito Guerra Jr. of Mexico, FIA's Production World Rally Championship this season, will partner with Hunter-Reay in the Nations Cup's first "Team Americas." World Rally Championship driver Sebastien Ogier was the 2011 "Champion of Champions."

Hunter-Reay, who is in the same group as seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher in the individual competition, could wind up driving a KTM X-Bow, a Gallardo Super Trofeo, an Audi R8 LMS or even a VW Scirocco.

"I don't have any of those toys to mess around with at home (to prepare)," Hunter-Reay said. "So I think you have to rely on your skill set that you kind of worked on over the years and jumping from car to car, sports car to Indy cars to some of the heavier stuff that I've driven — stock cars and stuff.

"So we'll see. It should be fun. I was a little bit disappointed that there is not some type of open wheel formula car in there, but I think it definitely went more for the rally drivers there. But, hey, it's still a car. It has four wheels and a steering wheel, two pedals, three pedals, you have to make it work."

Other drivers scheduled to compete in the 2012 Race of Champions:

Michael Schumacher, seven-time Formula 1 World Champion

Sebastian Vettel, three-time Formula 1 World Champion

Jorge Lorenzo, two-time MotoGP World Champion

Mick Doohan, five-time 500cc MotoGP World Champion

Jamie Whincup, four-time V8 Supercar Champion

David Coulthard, 13-time Formula 1 grand prix winner

Tom Kristensen, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner

Andy Priaulx, three-time World Touring Car Champion

Benito Guerra Jr., 2012 FIA Production World Rally Champion

Romain Grosjean, Current Lotus F1 driver and 2011 GP2 Series champion

Sebastien Ogier, World Rally Championship driver and 2011 "Champion of Champions"

While the event is a chance to race against some of the biggest names in motorsports, and may get his competitive juices flowing, Hunter-Reay said he's looking forward to the whole experience.

"Just really the whole atmosphere," Hunter-Reay said. "Being invited to the Race of Champions in the first place is a pretty big deal for me. It's a race I've watched for a while and something I've wanted to be a part of. It's going to be something racing those guys and really getting to know them and meeting some new people from around the world of motorsports.

"You really have a lot of respect for these different talent pools that come from F1, MotoGP, rally driving, and at the same time, you can learn quite a bit too about how these guys approach the challenge of the Race of Champions. I'm looking forward to it."

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