Jerome d'Ambrosio and Karun Chandhok have become the first active F1 racers to add their names to the line-up for this year's ERDF Masters Kart event in Bercy, as the Phillipe Streiff-inspired showpiece makes its comeback after an absence of several years.
With new GP2 Series champion and Lotus Renault reserve - and former race pilot - Romain Grosjean also agreeing to join the field, the 100 per cent electric end-of-season event - scheduled for Paris-Bercy over 10-11 December - has begun to add some names from the top flight to do battle with the stars already confirmed from both rallying and sportscars.
Citroen team-mates Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier head the entry as it stands, with multiple Champ Car title winner - and former Toro Rosso F1 driver - Sébastien Bourdais heading the sportscar contingent alongside Benoit Treluyer, Romain Dumas, Stéphane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny and Olivier Lombard. While the likes of Bourdais, Montagny and Sarrazin represent F1's old guard, the next generation is also gradually being catered for with the confirmed inclusion of World Series by Renault runner-up Jean-Eric Vergne and GP2 race winners Jules Bianchi and Charles Pic.
“I remember watching Bercy Karting Masters on TV when I was younger and thinking that, one day, I would like to be part of it," Grosjean, who looks certain to return to F1 full-time in 2012, commented, "Thanks to Philippe Streiff for giving us the opportunity to have this fantastic event back, with so much proximity with the public. I'm delighted to be in Paris over 10-11 December to discover Bercy and have fun driving this powerful 100 per cent electric kart.”
Former Renault and Ligier driver Streiff, who was paralysed in a testing accident in the mid-'80s, expects to announce further names in the coming weeks, while the French Motorsport Federation will add ten of the best international kart racers to the 20 star names being lined up.
TAG-Heuer, meanwhile, has agreed to sponsor the event, which began life back in 1993 and attracted the likes of F1 world champions Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, as well as rising stars Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton during its heyday. The next chapter will now begin two spectacular shows in early December, with karts specifically developed for Paris-Bercy by Sodikart.