The first Race of Champions to be held in the Middle East has been announced to take place on February 2-3 at Riyadh’s King Fahd International Stadium. The Saudi Arabian event has already announced the first eight drivers that will be taking part, including a debutante.
For the first time since 2009 though, defending Nations’ Cup winner Sebastian Vettel will not be present as he looks to focus on Ferrari’s build up to the 2018 season.
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “We are thrilled to be bringing such a stunning line-up of drivers to Riyadh for ROC’s first event in the Middle East in February … Rest assured we will put together a truly memorable event for fans of fast cars and even faster drivers.”
While Vettel will not be present, defending Champion of Champions Juan Pablo Montoya has already confirmed his appearance at the event along with Tom Kristensen, the man he beat in this years final.
The Dane will be joined by fellow retired regular; David Coulthard, as so far, none of the current F1 field has confirmed their entry.
The closest many in the F1 paddock will recognise, will be the youngest driver in the line-up, Lando Norris. The 18-year-old won the FIA European Formula 3 Championship this season and has been recently announced as the McLaren reserve driver. The event will be his debut in the category and will partner Coulthard in Team GB.
Elsewhere, IndyCar has three representatives, with Brazilian star Helio Castroneves joining Ryan Hunter-Reay and 2017 champion Josef Newgarden.
Last but not least will be Petter Solberg. The Norwegian was instrumental in the Rest of the World beating the United States team in Miami, winning the final to secure the crown for his crew back in January.
Now in its thirtieth year, the ROC brings together racers from all walks of motorsport. More drivers will be announced in time.