IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay knew going into this past weekend's Race of Champions in Bangkok that he would be behind the curve, having never tested any of the vehicles used in competition. Sure enough, he was eliminated early on in the finals, but that didn't detract from his enthiusiasm from the event that brings together stars from multiple motorsports disciplines to compete in individual and team races in identical cars on an asphalt circuit with two parallel tracks and a crossover bridge inside Rajamangala Stadium.
Drivers were split into four groups of four, battling for the right to line up in the knockout stages, in the Race of Champions event. Hunter-Reay won a heat race over Kazuya Ohshima, Japan's qualifier from ROC Asia, but fell short in races against Formula 1 drivers Romain Grosjean and Michael Schumacher.
“(I) will be much better prepared if I can come back next year,” Hunter-Reay posted on Twitter after the event. “Big thanks to everyone behind the scenes for putting on such a spectacular event.”
Lotus F1 star Grosjean went on to win the title of "Champion of Champions" by defeating Le Mans 24 Hours race legend Tom Kristensen in the best-of-three final.
In Saturday's RoC Nations Cup, Hunter-Reay teamed with Benito Guerra Jr. of Mexico, FIA's Production World Rally Championship this season, on Team Americas. They won three heat races but did not advance out of the preliminaries. The German duo of Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel stormed to their sixth consecutive ROC Nations Cup title.