BANGKOK (AFP) –
IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will line up against Formula One stars Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel at the Race of Champions in Bangkok on December 15-16, organisers announced.
The annual end-of-season contest, which brings together heavyweights from all racing disciplines in the same type of car, is a chance for Thailand to showcase its host credentials as it seeks to stage its first Formula One race.
The Race of Champions, now in its 25th year, will be held on a specially constructed tarmac track in Bangkok’s 50,000-capacity Rajamangala Stadium.
The latest addition to the line-up is American Hunter-Reay, who clinched his first IndyCar Series championship with a fourth-place finish in the season-ending race last month.
“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 the Race Of Champions,” Hunter-Reay said.
Schumacher will team up with reigning F1 world champion Vettel in a bid to extend Germany’s five-year winning streak in the Race of Champions Nations Cup.
After winning two world titles with Benetton and five with Ferrari, Schumacher is retiring for the second time at the end of 2012, he announced Thursday.
Thailand meanwhile is on track to host its first Formula One race in 2014, with talks already at an advanced stage, the kingdom’s tourism and sports minister told AFP on Monday.
“It’s unlikely we’ll have any problem,” Chumpol Silpa-archa said, adding that the country was still looking for a suitable venue for what local media have said is likely to be a night race like in Singapore.