After a month of intensive voting, two names were selected to join the regulars at the Race of Champions Nations Cup. A social media poll, called ROC Factor, gave an opportunity for amateurs or lesser known Pan-American racers to take part in the first ROC on American soil.
24-year-old driver Stefan Rzadzinski will join fellow countryman James Hinchcliffe in the newly renamed Team Canada ahead of the competition on 21-22 January. He was a front-runner in the Canadian Nissan Micra Cup last year, also gaining experience in NASCAR, open-wheel and Touring Car racing.
“I’m so happy I don’t even know what to say,” started Rzadzinski. “Thank you everyone in Edmonton, Canada and around the world who has come on board. I couldn’t have done it without any of you.
“It was the most stressful four and a half days in my life and I can’t believe I made it. Racing is not that big of a sport here. It’s tough to get a story out in this part of the world. It’s not hockey! I think we had a compelling story and that’s what got it.”
Meanwhile, joining Helio Castroneves will be Argentine Amateur, Gabriel Glusman, whose selection came after a jury decided the winner between himself and Colombia’s Jaime Guerrero. Glusman has less experience than his ROC Factor counterpart, only taking part in track days prior to his step up.
“Winning this competition and being part of ROC is a dream come true.” said Glusman. “It’s the closest I’ve ever come to being a racing driver and I don’t think I’ll fully understand its meaning until I’m really there, if ever.
He continued, “In the past I have paid for tickets to see all of these great drivers, I follow them every weekend as they race around the world and admire them immensely. So I can’t even begin to describe my feelings right now!”
On top of these two, the ROC Nations Cup will feature six American drivers, the largest single flag representation of any competition before this. The three US teams have been called Team USA Indycar, Team USA NASCAR and Team USA Rally X.
In total, ten national teams have been created with Sebastian Vettel‘s German partner yet to be announced.