Juan Pablo Montoya, Tom Kristensen and McLaren Formula 1 junior Lando Norris are among the first drivers to be announced for the 2018 Race of Champions.

Montoya will defend his Champion of champions title at the King Fahd International Stadium in Saudi Arabia, which will host an international motorsport event for the first time.

Organisers have also confirmed the first ROC event to be held in the Middle East will take place on February 2-3 2018.

Formula 3 European champion Norris will make his debut in the event, and will joined by 13-time grand prix winner David Coulthard and double World Rallycross champion Petter Solberg.

IndyCar champion Josef Neogarden will also contest the event, as will Indianapolis 500 winners Helio Castroneves and Ryan Hunter-Reay, with more drivers to be announced in the coming months.

"When I came to the Race Of Champions for the first time this year I immediately regretted never having done it before," said Montoya, who won the crown on his event debut in Miami last year.

"It was an amazing experience and Fredrik Johnsson [ROC president] and his team put together an amazing event.

"It's all about fun but when you go to the grid it's unbelievable how focused you are. It's like qualifying.

"Experience plays a part too: after a few laps you start getting the hang of the cars, but you can also mess it up really bad."

Nine-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Kristensen added: "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.

"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.

"Over the years there have been so many drivers with so much speed, talent and grit competing, it's always very motivating."

11:14 am
November 2017