He’s still got it: Ex-F1 star David Coulthard wins 2014 Race of Champions

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The eighth time was the charm for David Coulthard.

“DC,” the 13-time Formula One Grand Prix winner, defeated Mercedes F1 reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein in the final of the 2014 Race of Champions in Barbados to become “Champion of Champions” in his eighth ROC appearance.

Meanwhile, the ROC’s three U.S. drivers – NASCAR’s Kurt Busch, IndyCar’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Robby Gordon – all bowed out in the quarterfinal round.

You can watch a one-hour highlights show of this weekend’s ROC on Thursday night, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Prior to today, Coulthard’s best ROC finish was a runner-up result to rallying legend Sebastien Loeb in the 2008 edition in London.

“I’m retired, but it’s lovely to get another trophy,” said Coulthard, who then proceeded to praise Wehrlein for his efforts.

“I think everyone here recognizes that we have a star here for the future,” Coulthard said of Wehrlein. “He’s already signed up with Mercedes’ Formula One team as a reserve driver, he’s winning races in DTM…Motorsport is in good health.”

Today’s best-of-3 final between Coulthard and Wehrlein started in the KTM X-Bow. Coulthard drew a warning for touching a barrier on the opening lap, but ran a clean second lap around the course and beat Wehrlein to the stripe by 1.4 seconds.

That led to Race 2 in the Ariel Atom Cup car. The race tightened up considerably in the second lap before Wehrlein put two wheels off-course in the final corner, allowing Coulthard to pull away and earn the title-clinching win.

“It was so much fun but at the end, David was really quick. I couldn’t beat him,” Wehrlein said of his final round. “For me, it’s a bit tough to drive a manual shift car and brake with the right foot, the clutch and everything. I was struggling a bit with that.”

As for the Americans, their days started with lots of promise but ended abruptly in the quarterfinals.

All three men swept their three respective heat races in the group stage to advance to the knockout rounds. But in the quarterfinals, they all went down: Busch to V8 Supercar champ Jamie Whincup in the Audi R8 LMS, Gordon to Wehrlein in the ROC Car, and Hunter-Reay to European F3 champ Esteban Ocon in the X-Bow.

Afterwards, Gordon said he thought Wehrlein should have been given a time penalty in their match for hitting a barrier.

“Obviously, he’s a very capable driver but he did clip the barrier and that should be [a penalty of] five seconds,” Gordon said. “[But] the reality is, he was fast. He was fast even with clipping the barrier, so it is what it is.”

In a later interview on the streaming broadcast, Gordon indicated that he also had issues with second gear being broken on his ROC Car.

Busch dubbed the quarterfinals as the “American eliminator round,” perhaps a reference to the last cut in the Chase for the Sprint Cup in his own series.

“I thought we had a better shot with us three [Americans] in it, and none of us got through that round,” said Busch.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.