IndyCar winner to join December race

IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay has confirmed to join the star-studded Race Of Champions in Bangkok in December where more than 120,000 fans are expected to attend the three-day competition.

Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson talks to the Thai media yesterday. SOMCHAI POOMLARD

Hunter-Reay, who sealed the IndyCar Series title by three points at last month's dramatic season finale, will join double world Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher who had already confirmed to take part in the event to be held at Rajamangala National Stadium on Dec 14-16.

"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.

"It has always been a goal of mine and I am honoured to be one of the few invitees to compete in the Race Of Champions."

Meanwhile, race organiser Fredrik Johnsson said that it would be interesting to see how the American and his teammate would fare 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 another victory."

There will be eight two-racer teams representing eight countries in the 25th edition of the race which made its debut in Paris. Six teams feature Thailand, Germany, United States, France, England and Australia. Two other teams will be decided later.

Apart from the team competition in the ROC Nations' Cup, there will be an individual event where the great achievement, not prize money, is being vied.

"These drivers make US$10-20 million a year. But what they need is to win for their countries," said Johnsson.

It will be the first time that Thailand will host such a world-class motorsport event and Johnsson hopes to see a fully-packed stadium during the three-day event.

"I hope to see 40,000 fans a day. So, there will be about 120,000 fans for the whole tournament."

"Most of them would be local fans but we hope more foreigners will come next year when the tournament is well-promoted."

About the author

Writer: Kittipong Thongsombat
Position: Reporter