Rossi, Speed join Race of Champions field in Miami

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Alexander Rossi and Scott Speed will join the field for the Race of Champions in Miami.

The release with more information is below:

This year’s Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi and reigning Red Bull Global Rallycross Champion Scott Speed are the latest names to join the line-up who will compete at the first Race Of Champions on American soil – inside Miami’s new baseball stadium Marlins Park on January 21-22, 2017.

Rossi came to May’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie, but he went away with the bottle of milk after a stunning drive coupled with a brilliant fuel-saving strategy from his Andretti-Herta Autosport team. Near the end of the race the young American had to stay out for a total of 36 laps, yet he managed it (pictured below) to become the first American rookie to take home the Borg-Warner trophy since 1928.

Before that Rossi had spent most of his racing career in Europe – in series including Formula BMW, GP3, Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2. In 2012 he made his Formula 1 practice debut, becoming the first American F1 driver since, ironically, Scott Speed. He made his grand prix debut at the 2015 Singapore GP for Manor and contested a total of five races before this year’s triumphant switch to IndyCar. Now he will make his Race Of Champions debut in front of his home fans in Miami.

Rossi said: “I’m honoured to be invited to race in this year’s Race Of Champions. ROC is so well respected in motor sport, bringing together the best drivers from around the world and across every series. This international event is always ultra-competitive and I’m looking forward to the competition and the very first US race venue in Miami. It will also be great to race with my Andretti Autosport team-mate, Ryan Hunter-Reay. I can assure you, neither of us will be holding back.”

Speed not only has the fastest name in motor sport, he has also established himself as the man to beat in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship. He sealed his second successive title last month, overhauling rival Tanner Foust at the final round in Los Angeles for Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross. But this is only the latest chapter in the American racer’s versatile racing career.

When Speed made his Formula 1 debut for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2006, he was the first American driver to race in a grand prix since Michael Andretti in 1993. He made 28 appearances before losing his seat to Sebastian Vettel, with whom he can resume his rivalry in January. Speed later spent several seasons in NASCAR before his GRC move. Added to appearances in series as diverse as A1GP, IndyCar and Formula E, such a wide mix of experience will doubtless come in very handy at ROC Miami.

Speed said: “I am beyond excited to join the Race Of Champions. Being selected to represent the USA on home soil is such an honour. I have always been a huge fan of this event: having so many greats of motor racing in one place is a very rare thing. I am sure that Miami will prove to be a fantastic host of such a prestigious event.”

Rossi and Speed join a star-studded ROC Miami field that features many of the greatest stars in world motor sport. Confirmed racers include four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel, fellow F1 star Felipe Massa, ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen, Rossi’s fellow Indianapolis 500 winners Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan, action sports legend Travis Pastrana, NASCAR champion Kurt Busch and double FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg. Even more big names will be announced in the run-up to January’s event.

The Race Of Champions is an annual contest which has been held for over 25 years. It brings together some of the world’s greatest drivers from motor sport’s major disciplines – including Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, Le Mans, MotoGP, Touring Cars, World Rally and action sports – and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery. All the racing takes place in a stunning range of superfast cars.

The ROC event is run over two days: first comes the Race Of Champions itself (on Saturday, January 21) featuring a flat-out battle for individual glory. Then on Sunday, January 22 comes the ROC Nations Cup when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. In 2017, this will see America take on the rest of the world in a special contest in celebration of the host venue.

In recent years, ROC has visited the Stade de France in Paris (2004-2006), London’s Wembley Stadium (2007-2008), the ‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic Stadium in Beijing (2009), Düsseldorf’s Esprit Arena (2010-2011), the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok (2012), Bushy Park Barbados (2014) and London’s former Olympic Stadium (2015).

Now the event is heading to the United States for the first time to soak up the heat of Miami. Florida’s sports fans will have a chance to watch the speediest action Marlins Park has ever seen as many of the world’s greatest drivers push to the absolute limit on a specially-designed racing track winding its way around the infield and outfield.

But that’s not all. The Race Of Champions has non-stop action from start to finish – featuring stunt shows on four wheels and two wheels plus DJs, cheerleaders and plenty of other entertainment to keep race fans on the edge of their seats.

ROC president Fredrik Johnsson said: “We are thrilled to have Alexander and Scott in our field for the first ever Race Of Champions on American soil. Not only are they the only two US drivers to compete in Formula 1 in the last 20 years, they’ve both put in exceptional performances in 2016.

“Alexander’s rookie victory in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 was a stroke of genius from him and his team. Scott has also become an unstoppable force in the Global Rallycross Championship, winning two titles in a row. They are both exciting drivers to watch and now we hope to see plenty of fans inside Miami’s Marlins Park cheering them on to glory against some of the best in the world.”

Tickets for ROC Miami are now available via http://www.raceofchampions.com. For access to rights-free high-resolution imagery and to keep up with all the latest news ahead of this year’s event please visit http://www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook plus @raceofchampions and #ROCMiami on Twitter.

Drivers already confirmed for ROC Miami:
Sebastian VETTEL, four-time Formula 1 world champion
Tom KRISTENSEN, nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner
Petter SOLBERG, double FIA World Rallycross Champion
Juan-Pablo MONTOYA, 2015 Indianapolis 500 winner
Ryan HUNTER-REAY, 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner
Tony KANAAN, 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner
Felipe MASSA, 11-time Formula 1 grand prix winner
Kurt BUSCH, 2004 NASCAR champion
Travis PASTRANA, action sports legend
Scott SPEED, double Global Rallycross Champion
Alexander ROSSI, 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”