IndyCar Series Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay has become the latest driver to sign up as the Race Of Champions celebrates its 25th year of competition in 2012. After a string of victories this year, Hunter-Reay sealed the title by just three points at last month’s dramatic season finale. The result makes the American the first major motor sport champion of 2012 and has earned him an invitation to Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium for the Race Of Champions on the weekend of December 15-16.
- 2012 IndyCar Series Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will compete at this year’s Race Of Champions in Bangkok, Thailand
- The American took four IndyCar victories this season before becoming the first champion of a major 2012 motor sport series at last month’s finale
- Hunter-Reay joins a field featuring F1 world champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel for ROC 2012 on December 15-16
Held every year since 1988, the end-of-season contest brings together the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines – including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans, IndyCar and the X-Games – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 15 December, before the individual Race Of Champions takes place on Sunday 16 December.
The most successful American driver currently racing in open-wheel competition, Hunter-Reay is the only driver to have taken victories in IndyCar, CART, Champ Car, ALMS and GrandAm. Indeed, his total of 12 IndyCar wins is more than all his current American rivals combined.
Hunter-Reay enjoyed a mighty 2012 including a run of three consecutive wins, yet he still trailed Australian racer Will Power by 36 points with two races left. The American duly won in Baltimore to reduce the gap. Then in the Fontana finale Power crashed out before returning to the track to ensure Hunter-Reay needed to finish in 5th place or higher. After a nail-biting final six-lap shootout, he brought his Andretti Autosport IndyCar home in 4th to become the first home-grown champion in a unified IndyCar series since 1994.
It has always been a goal of mine and I’m honoured to be one of the few invitees to compete in the Race Of Champions.
Now Hunter-Reay has won the chance to see how he matches up against the best motor sport stars from around the world at ROC 2012. The field already features a total of nine Formula 1 world championships courtesy of German greats Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. They will be joined by plenty more motor sport legends in the run-up to December’s event in Bangkok.
Hunter-Reay said: “After a career best season culminating in an IndyCar Series Championship, I could see no better way to cap off 2012 than representing the USA and IndyCar, competing against the best drivers from other top level championships around the world at ROC. It has always been a goal of mine and I’m honoured to be one of the few invitees to compete in the Race Of Champions.”
After recent visits to London’s Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium (2009) and Dusseldorf’s ESPRIT arena (2010-2011), ROC 2012 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium. Built for the 1998 Asian Games, the 50,000-capacity stadium has since hosted Thailand’s home football matches plus athletics, pop concerts and even political rallies.