Preview: ROC rolls into Barbados for 2014 showdown


Esteban Ocon, Friday Practice, ROC Barbados, Credit: ROC

Rapidly becoming the end of season curtain closer, the Race of Champions is back after a years absence and has reappeared in tropical climes as Bushy Park in Barbados plays host to some of the world’s greatest drivers.

Some of those drivers include ROC stalwart and Mr Le Mans himself Tom Kristensen, as well as one of the most versatile drivers to come out of America in recent times – Robbie Gordon.

Gordon, who has won multiple Baja 500 & 1000s as well as races in the Nascar Sprint Cup, IndyCar, Tans-Am, IMSA, CART, and the Dakar Rally, will be bringing three of the absolutely insane Stadium Super Trucks to show the Caribbean just why they are taking the world by storm.

He will join WTCC champion Jose Maria Lopez for the Nations Cup in Team America,  where they will be facing – amongst other single seater aces – GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer who will be making his first ROC appearance in Team Young Stars alongside Pascal Wehrlein.

Palmer said: “The line-up contains plenty of legends in their own field, which is what makes it such a special event – to see Mick Doohan competing against the likes of Tom Kristensen, Jamie Whincup, F1 drivers and other champions. The cars seem great fun to drive as well, with a lot of power and the chance to slide them around. Making quick switches between them is something you don’t often get to do so it will be a driving challenge. And I’ve never been to Barbados before so I’m looking forward to that too…”

VW Polo RX (Credit: Matt Bristow/RubberDuckDoes)
VW Polo RX (Credit: Matt Bristow/RubberDuckDoes)

The cars being used this year certainly are varied. As well as Robbie Gordon’s Super Trucks, the usual stable of ROC Buggies, Audi R8 LMS, KTM X-Bow and Euro NASCAR machines are joined this year by the pocket rocket VW Polo RX – the World RallyCross car with four wheel drive and 600HP on tap which should see every driver take every corner sideways, or at least that’s what the Barbados crowd should be wishing for.

Starting tomorrow with the Nations Cup, drivers will be working together to do the best for the country – or in some cases team – they are working for to claim national pride, for a year at least, before all the friendly feeling gets quickly blown away into the clear blue Caribbean Ocean as more than 60 individual heats get underway to find the best of the best.

Last time it was Romain Grosjean who proved he had what it takes to become ROC champion but with Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, NASCAR star Kurt Busch and Williams F1 reserve driver Susie Wolff all wanting to snatch that crown away it won’t be easy for the Frenchman.

The Race of Champions takes place this weekend, December 13 & 14, with liver coverage on Motors TV and www.raceofchampions.com.