The coming weekend appears to be an end-of-season celebration for the stars of international motorsport, with the annual Race of Champions in Germany clashing with a number of kart events featuring some of the world's finest drivers.
Sadly, the popular date means that the likes of Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel won't be able to take part in Felipe Massa's annual Stars of Karting event at Florianpolis, but the F1 fraternity remains well represented among a field stuffed with Brazilian talent.
While the RoC, the Red Bull kart event in the USA and Monday's remembrance event for Dan Wheldon in the UK means that the field is diluted somewhat, the sixth edition of Massa's event will see five drivers with F1 links make their debut this weekend, as Adrian Sutil, Pastor Maldonado and Jerome d'Ambrosio from the current field join GP2 hotshoe and Ferrari protege Jules Bianchi and former Scuderia driver Gianni Morbidelli in Brazil. They join the host, Rubens Barrichello, former Virgin driver-turned-Pirelli development driver Lucas di Grassi, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Jaime Alguersuari, alongside a host of stars from other disciplines in a 29-strong entry. Luciano Burti, Ricardo Zonta, Antonio Pizzonia, Christian Fittipaldi, Enrique Bernoldi and Nelson Angelo Piquet all also bring F1 experience to the event, having moved on to otehr categories in recent yeats.
"The level is getting higher and higher and, every year, we have been able to add some new attractions, as is the case of the guys who race against me in F1," Massa commented, "Emerson Fittipaldi's 15-year old grandson Pietro, the newly-crowned NASCAR Limited Late Model champion, is another rookie in the race along with GP2 Series frontrunner Jules Bianchi and Scuderia Italia, Minardi, Jordan, Sauber and Ferrari former driver Gianni Morbidelli."
More than 20,000 fans are expected to attend the event at the Sapiens Arena in Florianopolis, while those who can't attend can follow proceedings via internet TV at www.brmtv.com.br
and a live timing service at www.desafiodasestrelas.com.br
The full field is as follows:
Lucas di Grassi
Indy Racing League
Nelson Angelo Piquet
Brazilian Stock Car