Race of Champions 2023: How to watch, Preview and more

by Kent Green
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This weekend, the Race of Champions will return to Pite Havsbad in Sweden for the second year to take place on the snow and ice.

This weekend, ROC is back for an encore performance in the Arctic air of north-eastern Sweden, having previously been hosted at some of the world’s most renowned locations.

Two competitions will be held for the participants: On Saturday, January 28th, the drivers will partner up to determine which country has the quickest drivers. However, on Sunday, January 29th, the drivers will compete individually in the ROC to determine who will earn the title of Champion of Champions.

Competitors use similar vehicles to go head-to-head on a specially designed track on the ice Baltic Sea shore. In addition, there’s the electric Zeroid X1 rallycross car and the Cupra UrbanRebel Concept.

Due to the randomization of the ROC, the competitors are roughly divided in half: half are experienced off-road racers, while the other half are international racing drivers. The Final will include a matchup between the two groups’ respective champions.

How to watch Race of Champions Live

Race of Champions Preview

The brackets for the Race of Champions Saturday (for nations) and Sunday (for individuals) tournaments were randomly drawn on Tuesday. Pite Havsbad Group employees Tobias Lindfors and Kristoffer Lundström ran the drawing.

Because a snow/ice track is so susceptible to the elements, the group stage format was abandoned after the inaugural tournament in Sweden in 2022.

Each competitor will compete in two heats to determine who advances to the first round (a preliminary) and the round of 16. Since there will be twice as many drivers competing in the Nations Cup, each round will consist of four heats.

Petter and Oliver Solberg of Team Nordic will open their defence of the Nations Cup against Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekström of Team Sweden. The 2022 ROC individual champion Sébastien Loeb faces up against Thierry Neuville in his opening race of the playoffs.

Starting off the Nations Cup against Valtteri Bottas and Mika Häkkinen of Finland will be Team eROC, comprised of Lucas Blakeley, Jarno Opmeer, Martin Palm, and Michael Romanidis. In 2022, Opmeer and Blakeley formed the sim racer squad.

Vettel is making his 11th appearance at ROC after just coming out of retirement from Formula 1. The four-time Formula One World Champion is a proven competitor in ROC history, leading Team Germany to a record seven Nations Cup victories. On Saturday, Vettel will again team up with Formula One driver Mick Schumacher in the Nations Cup.

David Coulthard, a 13-time Formula One race winner, and Jamie Chadwick, a freshly signed driver for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT series, round up Team GB. In the opening round of the Nations Cup, the two will meet Team Germany.

Valtteri Bottas, a 10-time winner in Formula 1, will make his ROC debut on the Baltic Sea ice with Mika Hakkinen, a two-time winner in Formula 1. In the opening round of the Nations Cup, the duo will face off against the eROC finals victor.

This weekend will also see the ROC debuts of Indycar star Felix Rosenqvist and 2022 Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich. Together with Danish Le Man’s icon Tom Kristensen, Rosenqvist will battle for Team Nordic in front of his home fans. To round off Team All-Stars, Drugovich will switch from his usual racing surface of the asphalt to snow, joining forces with Neuville.

Team All Stars will meet the United States of America in the last eight of the Nations Cup. Tanner Foust, driver of a McLaren in McLaren’s Extreme E series, and Travis Pastrana, NRX Nitro Rallycross Champion, round up the American squad.

Due to the unpredictable snow and ice on the track, ROC will not be using the customary group stage, which typically ends in ties requiring a countback of the fastest laps. However, when the ROC holds its World Final in 2023, it will switch to a knockout format.

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