Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden will compete for the first time in the Race Of Champions, joining fellow IndyCar drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya in the prestigious all-star event set for Feb. 2-3 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Montoya, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, is the defending Champion of Champions, having earned the title as an ROC rookie when the event was held in January at Marlins Park in Miami. The Race Of Champions is an annual contest bringing together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motorsport’s major disciplines – including IndyCar, Formula One, sports cars, rallycross and more – to battle head-to-head in identical machinery, in both individual and national team competitions.
Entering its 31st year, ROC has taken place at venues around the globe including London, Paris, Barbados, Beijing, Bangkok and the Canary Islands before coming to North America for the first time this year in Miami. The 2018 event will be the first for ROC in the Middle East, at Riyadh’s King Fahd International Stadium.
Montoya is excited to return to defend his championship.
“When I came to the Race Of Champions for the first time this year, I immediately regretted never having done it before,” Montoya said. “It was an amazing experience and (ROC President) Fredrik Johnsson and his team put together an amazing event. It’s all about fun but when you go to the grid it’s unbelievable how focused you are.
“I still don’t know what gave me the edge in Miami. It must have been beginner’s luck.”