WELCOME, N.C. -- Fresh off his career-first NASCAR Winston Cup victory at New Hampshire International Speedway, Robby Gordon will take on a new challenge this weekend when he competes in the Race of Champions (ROC) in Gran Canaria, Spain.
Similar to this country's True Value International Race of Champions (IROC), which Gordon has competed in twice, the international Race of Champions pits 24 drivers from eight different national teams against one another in identical vehicles under identical circumstances.
Each national team is comprised of three competitors -- from rally, road racing and motorcycle racing. They compete only within their category against their international counterparts.
Gordon will test his skills in the road racing category, driving a SEAT Cordoba WRC. He is teamed up with Rhys Millen (rally) and Shaun Palmer (X Games champion) to represent the United States in its on-track battle against the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Finland, France, Germany and a world all-star team.
Other drivers include Alister McRae (rally), Johnny Herbert (former Formula One driver) and Valentino Rossi (motorcycle GP road racer).
"I got an invitation two months ago to race in the Race of Champions and I couldn't pass it up," Gordon said. "The Race of Champions is like the IROC in America but it has rally cars and some different guys.
"We'll race on dirt, over the mountains and on the road, so it will be real entertaining. I loved racing in IROC a few years ago and had a lot of success, so I'm hoping that this deal in Spain will be just as much fun."
The rally drivers will race a Mitsubishi Gp N, the road racing drivers a SEAT Cordoba WRC and the motorcycle riders a ROC Super Buggy. Winners will be decided based on a best-of-three races basis.
Gordon enjoyed past success in IROC, claiming runner-up finishes in the final point standings in 1996 and 1997.
Currently, he is preparing to pilot the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in the 2002 Winston Cup Series.