24H Dubai set for the ninth edition
This week, from January 9th till 11th, the Dubai Autodrome will again be hosting the first international endurance race of the new year for GTs, touring cars and 24H Specials. With teams from 18 countries and drivers with 40 different nationalities, there is plenty of international atmosphere for the event, organised by Creventic in co-operation with the DNRT (Dutch National Racing Team) and Dubai Autodrome.
No less than 28 cars have been entered in the A6 class for GT3 machines. Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon, the winners of the two previous editions of the Dunlop 24H Dubai, will be out to add another success and has entered a pair of Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 cars, its driver line-up including local hero Khaled Al Qubaisi, five times’ DTM champion Bernd Schneider and the most successful driver in history of the Dunlop 24H Dubai, Jeroen Bleekemolen. Other gullwing sportscars are run by German teams, Car Collection Motorsport and ALLINKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, the 2012 FIA GT World Champions, with FIA GT Champion Marc Basseng and the 2012 FIA World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff among its drivers, plus Italian outfit, GDL Racing. German outfit SX Team Schubert, also a former race winner, is running a BMW Z4 GT3 with BMW works driver Dirk Werner in the line-up. A similar car is run by another German team, Walkenhorst Motorsport.
The Swiss FACH Auto Tech team, that won the A6 amateur class last year, is back with a pair of Porsche 997 GT3 R cars, one of them with Porsche junior driver Connor de Philippi on board. Crubilé Sport, Stadler Motorsport and Attempto Racing are also running GT3-Porsches, including Porsche junior driver Alex Riberas in one of the two Attempto cars. Ferrari’s colours are represented by Spirit of Race, Ram Racing, Race Alliance, Visiom, Dragon Racing and GT Corse. Hong Kong-based team, Craft Racing AMR, is running a pair of Aston Martins while AF Racing International from Belgium and rhino’s Leipert Motorsport from Germany are both competing with Lamborghini Gallardo. British Team LNT has brought a Ginetta G55 GT3 while American power is coming from Dutch teams V8 Racing and Manor MP Motorsport with a Chevrolet Corvette C6-R and a Dodge Viper respectively.
No less than eleven cars have been entered for the Porsche Cup class. German team, MRS GT Racing, is running a 991 Cup car with four times’ Porsche Supercup champion, Patrick Huisman, as one of its drivers. The other teams, GDL Racing from Italy, Förch Racing by Lukas Motorsport from Poland, German outfits Black Falcon and Car Collection, Belgian team Speedlover, Motorsport Services/STR from Australia and Team Parker Racing Ltd. from the UK, are all running 997 Cup cars.
The SP2 class includes a pair of Nissan 370Z cars from the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN, one Mosler MT900 from Gravity Racing International, one Renault Mégane Trophy silhouette from Belgian team Boutsen Ginion Racing and three GC Automobiles silhouettes from the factory team. The SP3 class consists of three Ginettas (Optimum Motorsport and Speedworks Motorsport from the UK and Nova Race from Italy), one Audi R8 run by Dutch team, Red Camel-Jordans.nl, one Aston Martin (Perfection Racing Europe), one BMW M3 GT4 (Bonk Motorsport) and Cor Euser Racing’s Lotus Evora GT4. As usual, the A5 class is an all-BMW affair with entries from German teams Sorg Rennsport, Hofor-Kueperracing and Black Falcon, JR Motorsport from The Netherlands, RTR Projects from the Czech Republic and Duwo Racing from Luxemburg.
The Seat León Supercopa car is the machine of choice in class A3T with entries from New Zealand-based team Motorsport Services, Lebanon’s Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing, Pfister Racing from Germany, the Austrian Prefa Racing Team and Grove & Dean Motorsport from the UK. They are facing opposition from Polish team, Förch Racing by Lukas Motorsport with a Volkswagen Golf TDI and last year’s class winners, the Racingdivas Team Schubert with an all-female line up of five Dutch lady racers. The A2 class has some more variety with five Renault Clios (AD Racing/K-Rejser from Denmark, Speedlover from Belgium, APO Sport from the UK and Modena Motorsports from Hong Kong), two Hondas (Lap 57 from the UAE and Belgian team, VDS Racing Adventures), one Mini John Cooper Works Endurance (Racing 4 Friends from Germany) and one Suzuki Swift (QMMF from Qatar). And last but not least, the D1 diesel class includes a Seat León TDI (Red Camel-Jordans.nl from The Netherlands), one Volkswagen Golf TDI (KPM Racing from the UK) and three BMW 120D (SVDP Racing from the UAE, Recy Racing Team from Belgium and Cor Euser Racing from The Netherlands).
Track action starts on Wednesday, January 8th, with the traditional rent-a-car rides, followed by an optional private test in the afternoon from 13.00 till 17.00 hrs. There are two free practice sessions on Thursday, January 9th (11.30 till 12.15 hrs and 13.15 till 14.45 hrs), followed by qualifying in three sessions (15.00 till 16.00 hrs for all classes, 16.15 till 16.45 hrs for classes A1 to A5, D1 and D2, A3T and SP3, 17.00 till 17.30 hrs for classes A5, SP2 and 997) and night practice from 18.00 till 20.00 hrs. On Friday, January 10th, there is a warm-up session from 10.30 till 11.00 hrs while the race gets underway at 14.00 hrs and ends at the same time on Saturday, January 11th (all times local in the UAE, CET three hours earlier).