The Race Of Champions (ROC) is heading to Latin America for the first time in its history, with the announcement that Mexico City will host the next running of the all-star event. ROC Mexico will be held on January 19-20, 2019 at the Foro Sol, the amphitheatre forming part of Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Formula 1 circuit.
2019 Race of Champions draw revealed in Mexico City
Red Bull’s new signing Pierre Gasly may be gearing up for his biggest year in motorsport to date, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a little fun first – and with that in mind, the Frenchman has signed himself up for the 2019 Race Of Champions in Mexico.
The event, taking place on January 19-20 at the Foro Sol stadium in Mexico City – a venue F1 fans will be familiar with, given that the Mexican Grand Prix circuit passes through it – will see Gasly partner up with Le Mans winner Loic Duval for Team France in the ROC Nations Cup, before Gasly then goes after individual glory against the likes of Tom Kristensen, David Coulthard and current rival Sebastian Vettel in the Race Of Champions main event.
“It’s a big honour to be taking part in the Race Of Champions for the first time,” said Gasly. “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 Loic in the ROC Nations Cup.”
Should Gasly and Duval triumph in the ROC Nations Cup, it will mark the first victory for France since 2004, when Jean Alesi was paired up with Citroen rally star Sebastien Loeb, while in the individual competition, France has seen Loeb, Sebastien Ogier and current Haas driver Romain Grosjean celebrate victory in recent years.
Meanwhile, Gasly will also be joined in the 2019 competition by F1 Esports stars Brendon Leigh and Enzo Bonito, who’ll line up in the ROC Nations Cup as Team Sim Racing All Stars.
This weekend’s Race of Champions in Mexico City will feature home heroes Daniel Suarez and Esteban Gutierrez racing off against Formula 1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly respectively.
In the draw at Mexico City’s Foro Sol – the iconic stadium section forming part of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Formula 1 circuit – ROC Mexico Project Manager Juan Pablo Sanchez and Mexican TV presenter Giselle Zarur picked the group line-ups for the star-studded, head-to-head event.
Recently-signed Stewart-Haas NASCAR Cup racer Suarez was drawn alongside Vettel and Mexican rally star Benito Guerra in Group C, with Mick Schumacher racing off against another Mexican, sportscar star Memo Rojas, for the honour of joining them.
Former Sauber F1 racer Gutierrez will face off against Gasly and former Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Mexico’s 2018 Indy Lights champion Patricio O’Ward will battle ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen and 13-time grand prix winner David Coulthard, while reigning World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson will face Formula E star Lucas di Grassi and 2017 IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden.
The top two from each group will progress to the quarter-finals. Then it’s a straight knockout tournament all the way to the best-of-three Grand Final, in which the ROC Champion of Champions will be crowned.
Ahead of the individual Race of Champions, the weekend’s action will begin with Saturday’s ROC Nations Cup where national pride is at stake, with 10 teams split over three groups.
Group A features four teams (Germany, Mexico, Infinitum Mexico and France), with the top two moving on to the semi-finals. The winners of Group B (Brazil, Telcel Mexico and Sim Racing All Stars) and Group C (Nordic, GB and USA) will also progress.
The knockout rounds are best-of-three: if scores are tied at 1-1 after the first two heats, the third decisive heat is always contested by the two winning drivers.
The Top 50 Drivers of 2018
We reveal the 50 best drivers across the world of motorsport
Browse the list
The ROC Mexico line-up has been completed by Britain’s triple World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx, who said: “The Race of Champions is such a fun event and one I love taking part in.
“It is great to be pitched against the world’s best drivers and to know we are all on a level playing field.
“The cars are totally different to those we usually drive, so there is always a challenge to get used to them.
“Fredrik Johnsson and his team put on a great show so I can’t wait to get to Mexico, catch up with everyone and start racing.”
ROC Nations Cup Draw (Saturday January 19)
Team Germany (Sebastian Vettel & Mick Schumacher)
Team Mexico (Esteban Gutierrez & Patricio O’Ward)
Team Infinitum Mexico (Memo Rojas & Benito Guerra)
Team France (Pierre Gasly & Loic Duval)
Team Brazil (Helio Castroneves & Lucas di Grassi)
Team Telcel Mexico (Daniel Suárez & ROC Mexico Saturday winner*)
Team Sim Racing All Stars (Enzo Bonito & eROC winner)
Team Nordic (Tom Kristensen & Johan Kristoffersson)
Team Great Britain (David Coulthard & Andy Priaulx)
Team USA (Ryan Hunter-Reay & Josef Newgarden)
Race of Champions Draw (Sunday January 20)
David Coulthard, 13-time Formula 1 grand prix winner
Tom Kristensen, nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner
Patricio O’Ward, 2018 Indy Lights champion
Winner of Round 1A between the ROC Mexico Sunday winner* and Andy Priaulx
Johan Kristoffersson, double FIA World Rallycross champion
Lucas di Grassi, 2016-2017 Formula E champion
Josef Newgarden, 2017 IndyCar champion
Winner of Round 1B between Loic Duval and Helio Castroneves
Sebastian Vettel, four-time Formula 1 world champion
Daniel Suarez, 2016 NASCAR Xfinity series champion
Benito Guerra, 2012 Production World Rally champion
Winner of Round 1C between Memo Rojas and Mick Schumacher
Pierre Gasly, Formula 1 driver for Red Bull in 2019
Esteban Gutierrez, ex-Formula 1 driver for Sauber and Haas
Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner
Winner of Round 1D between Enzo Bonito and the 2019 eROC Champion
* Before each day’s action Mexican drivers Ruben Garcia Jr, Pancho Name, Abraham Calderon, Martin Fuentes, Ricardo Trivino, Ruben Rovelo, Ricardo Sanchez and Ricardo Cordero will fight it out for a place in the ROC field