Class podium for Hutchison at Dubai
Dundee racing driver Finlay Hutchison made his second appearance on the Dubai 24 Hours podium, after securing a superb second place finish in the A6-AM class with V8 Racing.
Having won the TCR class on his debut in the 24 Hour endurance racing season opener in 2017, the 17-year-old Scottish sportsman stepped-up to GT3 for this year’s instalment in Dubai and produced a fantastic performance at the wheel of the Dutch squad’s Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1.
Partnering Luc Braams, Duncan Huisman, Alex van t’Hoff and Rick Abresch, Hutchison adapted to the Corvette impressively and the quintet combined to deliver a great result. Taking second in A6-AM, a class featuring 15 cars, in the outright classification the team finished in an excellent eighth position from an immense overall entry of more than 90 cars.
“This is such an exciting and highly competitive event, hosting the best GT drivers from all over the world”, said an elated Hutchison, “To finish where we did against manufacturer supported customer racing teams, and such a talented field of drivers, took huge effort from all V8 Racing drivers and the team. The Chevrolet Corvette never skipped a beat, we had no collisions, the team strategy was great and the pit stops were flawless.”
Beginning the race on Friday, 12th January, from 20th overall on the grid and 12th in the A6-AM class, Huisman took the first stint and made swift progress to climb into the outright top 15 inside the first 20-minutes of action. Soon breaking into the top 12, fifth in A6-AM, the scene had certainly been set for a very strong challenge from the Chevrolet Corvette squad. Hutchison climbed aboard the No.18 car for his first stint during the third hour and the In Home Displays, Fitbox Virtual, Evoson and Hutchison Technologies-supported driver took the car to eighth place overall. As the hours ticked by and darkness began to fall over Dubai Autodrome, the V8 Racing squad ran smoothly through the various pit-stop cycles and at the halfway point of the race, two o’clock on Saturday morning, the team held sixth in A6-AM and a podium result remained a distinct possibility.
With six hours to go, reliability became an increasingly important factor but the Corvette ran faultlessly and the squad maintained its position in the A6-AM podium placings. Into the final hour, Hutchison was behind the wheel in seventh overall and second in class and he then handed the car over to team owner Rick Abresch for the final 50 minutes of racing. Emerging from the last scheduled pit-stop third in class, ninth overall, the Dutchman was able to move back into second in A6-AM and the outright top eight where he remained to the chequered flag at the end of 24 incredible hours.
Confirmation of the pace of the V8 Racing Corvette was the team’s fastest lap time of the race, an effort of 1m59.540 seconds which was less than 0.2 seconds shy of the best set by outright Dubai 24 Hours winners Black Falcon in the A6-PRO Mercedes-AMG GT3.
“I would like to thank the team for looking after me and doing such a great job”, added Hutchison, “I also want to say a big thank you to my co-drivers who all worked so hard to achieve this result, with special thanks to team manager Francesco Pastorelli, Chevrolet Corvette and Pratt & Miller for designing and building such a great car. I also want to say a special thank you to Pratt & Miller engineer Alex Roberge for his support throughout the race.”