The famous Race of Champions returned this year to Sweden with its traditional head-to-head races between the greatest racing drivers of our time. Triple W Series champion Jamie Chadwick made her second appearance at the event and battled stars of the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Johan Kristoffersson and Petter Solberg on the Swedish snow.
The Race of Champions brings the best racing drivers in the world together, battling for the crown of the Champion of the Champions - and is traditionally one of the most fun events in motor racing since its inception in 1988.
RoC was back on the ice and snow of Sweden for the 2023 edition, with competitors of the likes of David Coulthard, Mika Häkkinen, Johan Kristofferson, Mick Schumacher and several more. Among them, it was three-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick, who made her second appearance at the event after last year.
A knockout tournament with different cars in each run should provide the best racing and the best out of four runs advanced to the next stage - with half the contenders already out of the competition after the first stage. The weekend was again divided in the Nations Cup on Saturday and the Race of Champions on Sunday. Both competitions are highly regarded by the drivers themselves.
Additionally, on Friday, with the eRoC final gave the opportunity to the best two esport drivers to get a seat on the weekend to compete against the most famous drivers in the world - and possibly bring some surprises against rally legends and F1 world champions. This year, the eSport stars were Jarno Opmeer and eRoC winner Lucas Blakeley, who entered Team eRoC on Saturday and Sunday.
The Race of Champions was originally created by rally legend and former FIA Women In Motorsport Commission President Michéle Mouton and Frederik Jonsson, president of IMP, in 1988 with the first ever competition held in Paris. The event was held in memory of Henri Toivonen, who tragically died in 1986 in a rally crash in Corsica while leading the championship standings. Still today, the winners are awarded with the Henri Toivonen Memorial trophy.
Originally planned as the ultimate shootout for rally drivers, more and more racers from other disciplines joined the action with a colorful mix of F1 champions, NASCAR drivers and MotoGP stars.
The first round of the Nations Cup saw four teams battling out to progress into the 1/8 final, where more teams awaited after an initial draw. One competition saw Team eRoC against Team Finland - and the eRoC Team were the first big surprise, beating Mika Häkkinen and Valtteri Bottas to knock them out early in the tournament.
The second battle saw Team Germany with Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher against Team Great Britain with Jamie Chadwick and David Coulthard. Jamie Chadwick had an awesome run against Sebastian Vettel and set a faster lap than the four-time F1 world champion. But that wasn't enough to progress, as Team Germany won 3:1 against Jamie and Couldhard, who had some problems in his runs and touched the ice walls several times.
After the early end of the tournament for the British team, Team Norway (Petter Solberg and his son Oliver Solberg) repeated their success from the previous year and won the 2023 edition of the Nations Cup.
Race of Champions
On the big day, the course was covered in snow but pervaded by sun; the Race of Champions 2023 was a very competitive contest from beginning to end. Jamie Chadwick met Sebastian Vettel again - this time with a Polaris RZR first, and in Supercar Lites on the second run. The duel was eventually won by the German, while Jamie enjoyed the competition on snow and had a big smile on her face throughout.
The 4-time F1 champ was then eliminated by Mick Schumacher in the semi finals.
"I'm a bit disappointed, but then I thought that I could drive against Vettel and it's something I never dreamed of." - said Jamie Chadwick, describing the experience.
The final was contested between Mick Schumacher and Mattias Ekström. And what a final it was: Ekström won with a car on fire, which he tried to extinguish during his run, only to win once again against a Schumacher - having previously done so in the 2007 and 2009 finals against Michael Schumacher. Ekström became Champion of the Champions for the third time in his career - this time in his home country.