The Race of Champions is one of motorsports’ most prestigious international events, pitting drivers from every corner of the world and every racing discipline against one another to determine who is the greatest driver of all; in that regard, it’s a lot like Global Rallycross.
But with the addition of Mattias Ekstrom to the field at X Games Munich, the two events share more than just similarities in scope.
“I would rank (GRC) on the same level as the Race of Champions, because it’s a similar event,” Ekstrom said. “But the competition is way better than it is in ROC because all of the drivers are specialists in their own cars.”
A total of nine current or former GRC drivers have been selected to appear at ROC events, with at least one future GRC driver making an appearance every year from 2001 to 2011. In 40 combined selections, they have taken nine Champion of Champions awards and been a part of three Nations’ Cup victories, while two Champion of Champions finals would feature future GRC competitors competing head to head.
Ekstrom brings three Champion of Champions titles to the table, having won in 2006, 2007, and 2009, and a Nations’ Cup from 2005 as a part of the Scandinavian team. He has been selected to compete in the event six times, most of any driver in the field at Munich; Tanner Foust ranks second with three selections, while Brian Deegan and Scott Speed have one apiece.
Though Travis Pastrana won’t be racing in Munich, the GRC owner/driver has been a staple of ROC events through the past decade. Pastrana boasts eight ROC selections, including seven in a row from 2005 to 2011, and competed for the Nations’ Cup on his own in 2006.
Three drivers to make race appearances last season have all taken home the Champion of Champions trophy. Marcus Gronholm, who won the first two GRC races of 2012, won the event in 2002, while defending X Games Los Angeles gold medalist Sebastien Loeb boasts victories from 2003, 2005, and 2008. Loeb also finished second in 2010 to Filipe Albuquerque, who raced at Texas last year as a teammate to Pastrana.
The full breakdown of driver statistics is below:
Current/Former GRC Drivers to Earn Race of Champions Selections
- Filipe Albuquerque (GRC 2012; ROC 2010-11)
- Brian Deegan (GRC 2011-13; ROC 2011)
- Tanner Foust (GRC 2011-13; ROC 2008-10)
- Marcus Gronholm (GRC 2011-12; ROC 2001-07, 2009)
- Sebastien Loeb (GRC 2012; ROC 2002-06, 2008, 2010)
- Travis Pastrana (GRC 2011-13; ROC 2003, 2005-11)
- Nani Roma (GRC 2013; ROC 2006)
- Carlos Sainz (GRC 2013; ROC 1989-93, 1996-99)
- Scott Speed (GRC 2013; ROC 2006)
Current/Former GRC Drivers to Win Champion of Champions
- 1997: Carlos Sainz
- 2002: Marcus Gronholm
- 2003: Sebastien Loeb
- 2005: Sebastien Loeb
- 2006: Mattias Ekstrom
- 2007: Mattias Ekstrom
- 2008: Sebastien Loeb
- 2009: Mattias Ekstrom
- 2010: Filipe Albuquerque
Current/Former GRC Drivers to Appear in Champion of Champions Final
- 1993: Carlos Sainz
- 2000: Marcus Gronholm
- 2002: Sebastien Loeb
- 2003: Marcus Gronholm
- 2004: Sebastien Loeb
- 2010: Sebastien Loeb
Current/Former GRC Drivers to Win Nations’ Cup
- 2004: Sebastien Loeb (France)
- 2005: Mattias Ekstrom (Scandinavia)
- 2006: Marcus Gronholm (Finland)
Photo credit: Simon Bradley