A1GP series leader and former GP2 racer Adam Carroll is to appear at Wembley later this month as part of the Race of Champions’ inaugural Team Ireland.
The Portadown driver is to be paired with Irish rally star Gareth MacHale to represent his country in a star-studded line-up that also includes Michael Schumacher, Matthias Ekstrom, Andy Priaulx and Sebastien Loeb.
The invitation comes on the back of Carroll’s recent fine performance in the A1GP series with wins in both China and Malaysia. Every team to win the Malaysian feature race so far has gone on to take the title, which means Ireland is now hot favourite for 2009.
For an undoubtedly talented driver who was unable to profit from a recent temporary drive in GP2 with Fisichella Motorsport International, this could be the very boost his career needs.
He said: “I am really looking forward to competing in the Race of Champions because, not only will it be great fun, but also really interesting to drive so many types of vehicles against such an impressive line-up of competitors.
“It’s a unique opportunity to perform in such a famous venue as the new Wembley Stadium and to give motorsport fans a lot of entertainment over the course of one day. From a driving point of view, I am particularly looking forward to driving the World Rally Car and the buggies.”
Fredrik Johnsson, president of event organisers IMP, said: “Ireland has a very rich heritage in motorsport. The fans there, especially in rallying, are among the most enthusiastic and passionate in the world, while the country has produced some wonderful drivers, from Eddie Irvine to Damien Faulkner.
“That’s why I am delighted to announce the first team to represent Ireland in The Race of Champions — they will have their work cut out as the new boys, but I’m certain they will rise to the challenge and, with the luck of the Irish on their side, who knows what they will achieve.”
The Race of Champions, billed as the ultimate racing celebration, pits the best competitors from two- and four-wheeled motorsport against each other to show off their abilities on an asphalt track constructed on top of Wembley’s famous pitch.
16 drivers are due compete in a series of knockout heats in their own division to determine their class champion prior to a shoot-out to determine the ultimate winner.
It was due to feature F1 racer Mark Webber, paired with motorbike champion Troy Bayliss in Team Australia, but since the Red Bull ace broke his leg while mountain biking he has been forced to withdraw.
Lewis Hamilton will also be demonstrating his championship-winning McLaren MP4-23 and participating in a man-against-machine race with gold medal-winning cyclist Chris Hoy, armed only with a McLaren road car.
For more details on the December 14 event, visit http://www.raceofchampions.com.