IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will join Formula One champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastien Vettel in the Race Of Champions in Thailand later this year.
It will be the first appearance at the all-star racing event for Hunter-Reay, who claimed four wins on his way to winning his first series title.
“After a career-best season culminating in an IndyCar Series Championship, I could see no better way to cap off 2012 than representing the USA and IndyCar, competing against the best drivers from other top-level championships around the world at ROC,” said Hunter-Reay, the first American to win the IZOD IndyCar Series crown since 2006. “It has always been a goal of mine and I’m honored to be one of the few invitees to compete in the Race Of Champions.”
Held every year since 1988, the end-of-season Race of Champions brings together drivers from motor sport’s main disciplines — including Formula One, IndyCar, world rally, touring cars, sports cars, and the X-Games — and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery.
Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Dec. 15, before the individual Race Of Champions takes place on Dec. 16. ROC 2012 will take place on a specially constructed tarmac track with two parallel lanes winding their way round Bangkok’s Rajamangala National Stadium.
“We are delighted that Ryan will be joining us for ROC in Bangkok,” race organizer Fredrik Johnsson said. “He has had a fantastic season in the IndyCar Series and he proved his worth by coming out on top in such a thrilling finale. Now we’ll all be very interested to see how he gets on against the best drivers from around the world. He will also race for Team USA, which has a great history of its own in the ROC Nations Cup, and is overdue for another victory.”
Hunter-Reay is the third IZOD IndyCar Series champion to compete in the event, joining Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).