The Race of Champions has confirmed the first batch of drivers signed up to take part in next February's event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with Juan Pablo Montoya, Tom Kristensen and Lando Norris among those set to take part.

Riyadh's King Fahd International Stadium will host the first Race of Champions to be staged in the Middle East on February 2-3, with drivers from a number of different racing series vying for both international and individual honours.

'Champion of Champions' title-holder Montoya will return following his debut victory in Miami earlier this year, while Le Mans legend Kristensen has signed up for his 16th straight appearance at the Race of Champions.

McLaren youngster Norris will start what promises to be a busy 2018 by entering the Race of Champions for the first time, with Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden also set to debut.

Other drivers confirmed include David Coulthard, Petter Solberg, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves.

"The Race Of Champions is very much a sprint, man and machine against each other and the clock. It’s about skill and determination as you jump into a car you’ve done very little practice in," Kristensen said.

"So it’s a great challenge and a great spectacle and it’s an event I’m sure will go well in Riyadh. I spent eight months in Saudi Arabia with my family as a teenager because my Dad worked there, so it will be interesting to come back.

“I always take happiness and pride in taking part in the Race Of Champions. Over the years there have been so many drivers with so much speed, talent and grit competing, it’s always very motivating.

"I’m proud to have been part of winning the ROC Nations Cup a couple of times and I’ve made it to the individual final five times – yet I still haven’t won it. But now I’ve turned 50 I’ll take it a little bit easy. At least that’s what I tell my wife when I leave for the event…"

Race of Champions president Fredrik Johnsson added: “We are thrilled to be bringing such a stunning line-up of drivers to Riyadh for ROC’s first event in the Middle East in February.

"From last year’s finalists Juan Pablo Montoya and Tom Kristensen through to our youngest debutant Lando Norris plus stars of everything from Rally X to the Indy 500, we bring the greats of all the world’s great motorsport disciplines together and set them free to battle – all in identical cars."

 

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