29th Race of Champions to be held for first time in Middle East, Montoya defending winner

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This may be Super Bowl weekend in the U.S., but there’s a different kind of Super Bowl taking place for the first time ever in the Middle East.

The 29th Race of Champions takes place Friday and Saturday at King Fahd International Stadium in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.

The ROC features drivers from a number of different motorsports series driving identical and equally prepared race cars on ractracks that are typically constructed inside stadiums.

Other stadiums that have played host to the event in recent years include Marlins Stadium in Miami last year; the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium in Beijing; London’s Wembley Stadium and the Stade de France in Paris, among several others.

Both IMSA and IndyCar will be well-represented in the 20-driver field. Among key drivers to keep an eye on:

  • The U.S. will be represented by defending Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden and Ryan Hunter-Reay, participating in his fifth ROC.
  • Latin America will be represented by Helio Castroneves and defending ROC champion Juan Pablo Montoya, who won last year’s event in Miami.
  • Montoya is coming off a 10th-place finish in last weekend’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, while Castroneves was part of the ninth-place finishing team, both for the new Acura Team Penske group.
  • This will be both Montoya’s and Castroneves’ second appearance in the ROC.
  • The United Kingdom will be represented by David Coulthard and Lando Norris.
  • Mexico will be represented by Memo Rojas and Abraham Calderon.
  • There’s even a driver from the Sim Racing world, who has done most of his racing on a computer than an actual race car, Rudy van Buren.