Team Australia will have a star-studded pairing for the 2012 Race Of Champions as triple V8 Supercar champion Jamie Whincup lines up alongside motorcycling legend Mick Doohan at Bangkoks Rajamangala Stadium on December 14-16.
The end-of-season contest, which is being staged for the 25th consecutive year in 2012, brings together the worlds greatest drivers from motor sports main disciplines including Formula 1, world rally, touring cars, Le Mans, Indycar and the X-Games and sets them free to battle head-to-head in identical machinery. Drivers pair up for the ROC Nations Cup, this year scheduled for Saturday 15 December, before the individual Race Of Champions on Sunday 16 December.
Whincup has dominated Australia's popular V8 Supercar series of late, taking the title in 2008, 2009 and 2011. He also leads this year's championship after he took victory in the classic Bathurst 1000 for the fourth time at the weekend, this time by just 0.3s. Now he will become the first Aussie V8 racer to appear at the Race Of Champions, earning the chance to take on motor sports biggest names from all over the globe.
Doohan is of course better known for his exploits on two wheels following a career including over 50 wins and five straight 500cc MotoGP world championships in the Nineties. But he knows how to handle four-wheeled machinery too and this will be his fifth appearance at a Race Of Champions event.
Doohan will team up with Whincup in a ROC Nations Cup field that already features a total of nine Formula 1 world championships courtesy of Team Germanys Michael Schumacher
and Sebastian Vettel
, who also took victory in last weekends Japanese Grand Prix. They will be joined by plenty more motor sport legends in the run-up to Decembers event in Bangkok.
Whincup said: "Having watched all the greatest racing drivers compete and have so much fun driving world class cars on my television from Down Under, I couldn't be any more excited about participating for my first time at the Race Of Champions in Bangkok this December. Being a ROC virgin I am not setting my expectations too high but I will have some fun and hope my big Aussie V8 experience helps me."
Doohan said: "I'm looking forward to racing with Jamie for Team Australia as we only live a kilometre away from each other on the Gold Coast. The Race Of Champions is a fun event where it's friendly off the track but the goodwill evaporates when were waiting to blast away from the start line. As usual I'll be aiming to prove that anyone underestimating us bikers is making a big mistake
Race organiser Fredrik Johnsson added: "We're delighted to have Team Australia back in the ROC Nations Cup for the first time since 2009. Mick is a true legend of his sport who always gives the car specialists a run for their money and we are very excited to have Jamie on board. We are always looking to expand ROCs horizons and this is the first time we will have a V8 Supercar champion in our field. It will be fascinating to see how they get on against the worlds best racers in Bangkok."