100 crews entry list for 24 hours of Dubai
24h Dubai race, which starts on Friday January 15th, is opening the 2016 season of the 24H Series. This will be the eleventh running of the most popular endurance race in the Gulf region and for the first time in the history the maximum capacity grid is reached at Dubai Autodrome. It means that 100 cars will race around the 5.39-km long circuit.
Maiden 24-hour race for Mercedes-AMG GT3
As usually in the 24H Series, the leading cars on the grid are the powerful GT3 machines. The field provided a mix of GT cars and touring cars divided in eight classes. Some cars will appear for the first time at Dubai – Mercedes AMG GT3 or Renault R.S.01, but we will also see a completely new class in the 24H Series, made for popular TCR cars.
Last year’s winner of 24h Dubai will also be on the grid. Black Falcon‘s trio of Abdulaziz Al-Faisal, Yelmer Buurman and Hubert Haupt, who won last year with Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, will be joined by Bernd Schneider and Michal Broniszewski in the new #3 Mercedes-AMG GT3. It will be the maiden 24-hour race for the new car of German manufacturer.
A6 class champions also have a new car
In the Black Falcon’s #2 Mercedes-AMG GT3, which will be driven with Abu Dhabi Racing banner, the drivers will be Khaled Al Qubaisi, Hubert Haupt, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Maro Engel and Indy Dontje. Both of the new Mercedes cars are certainly among favorites, but there are at least ten more crews which are capable of fighting for the victory.
29 GT cars are divided into A6-Pro and A6-Am classes, with strong representation of the best GT drivers from all over the world. Third Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be driven by RAM Racing’s quintet of Paul White, Tom Onslow-Cole, Stuart Hall, Thomas Jäger and Roald Goethe. RAM Racing is the reigning A6 class team champion.
Eight Mercedes SLS against six Audi R8 cars
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 will be represented by eight teams: Gravity Racing International, Hofor Racing, Black Falcon, SPS automotive performance, IDEC Sport Racing, V8 Racing, Preci-Spark and GDL Racing. One of the drivers of Hofor Racing’s SLS will be Chantal Kroll, 2015 champion of 24H Series.
There will be six Audi R8 LMS cars on the grid, some of them with top GT drivers in the cockpit, like Frank Stippler in the Optimum Motorsport‘s car, Laurens Vanthoor in the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT‘s car or Christopher Mies in the Land Motorsport‘s car.
New Renault RS01 against old GT3 rivals
The latest generation of the Lamborghini Huracán will have its Dubai debut with three teams – HB Racing, Konrad Motorsport and Leipert Motorsport. Belgian team Boutsen Ginion Racing will be running a Renault RS01 FGT3, the spectacular silhouette car taking on its maiden 24-hour race.
There will be also few Ferraris and Porsches in A6 class, while V8 Racing will run only Chevrolet Corvette and MRS GT-Racing will race with Nissan GT-R GT3.
Strong competition in 991 class
18 cars from ten teams will be represented in the Porsche 991 Cup class. Although participation with older generations is still possible, the Porsche Cup class is now exclusively filled with cars from the current 991 model generation. Reigning class champions Ruffier Racing will not be on the grid.
Teams which will fight for the win and valuable points are Lechner Racing Middle East, GDL Racing, Black Falcon TMD Friction, HRT Performance, MSG Motorsport, Förch Racing by Lukas Motorsport, Platinum Racing, MRS GT-Racing, B2F Compétition and PFI Racing Sweden. One of the drivers of #40 Lechner Racing’s car will be Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum, a keen motorsport enthusiast and a member of the Dubai’s ruling family.
Reigning champions in the new class
Entries in other classes are familiar from previous seasons – SP2 with five different cars, SP3 with GT4 cars, Cup 1 class for BMW M235i Racing Cup machines, A3 and A2 for touring cars. This year’s race in Dubai marks the debut of the TCR category as a separate class in the 24H Series.
There are four entries in the TCR class with Seat Leon Cup Racers. One of the teams is Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing, reigning team’s champions of 2015. Driver in the #1 Seat will be Ramzi Moutran, Nabil Moutran, Sami Moutran and Phil Quaife.
Christer Jöns fastest qualifier
The action at Dubai Autodrome started on Wednesday with practices. In the yesterday’s qualifying session C.Abt Racing #4 Audi was the fastest, ahead of Land Motorsport #28 Audi and V8 Racing #333 Chevrolet Corvette. Christer Jöns made the fastest laptime 1.57.892 and secured pole position for his team, but in a 24-hour race the pole position isn’t a big advantage.
The race starts on Friday at 14.00 hrs (local time). Live streaming, live timing and latest news can be found on the series’ website www.24hseries.com.