UAE motorsport was proudly served by three victories during the 2013 Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai, with Khalid Al Qubaisi leading the Team Abu Dhabi by Black Falcons Mercedes to overall victory, the Lap57 Honda winning the A2 Class and Dubai based SVDP Racing BMW taking top honours in the D1 Class.

Jonathan Mullan, Spencer Vanderpal, Wubbe Herlaar, Jason O’Keefe and Kris Budnik did duty in the cockpit of the diesel powered BMW 120D, and a largely UAE based crew including former UAE karting champion Chris Wishart.

#115 SVDP Racing BMW 120D: Jonathan Mullan, Chris Wishart, Wubbe Herlaar, Jason O'Keefe, Kris Budnik
#115 SVDP Racing BMW 120D: Jonathan Mullan, Chris Wishart, Wubbe Herlaar, Jason O'Keefe, Kris Budnik

Photo by: Dubai Autodrome

The weekend at Dubai Autodrome did not get off to the best start as Vanderpal explained, "On Wednesday we blew an engine, in practice. We had big, big problems with the [engine] map and the fueling. We had too much fuel going in to the pistons, which detonated the pistons."

"We were forced to put an unknown engine and gearbox into the car. Wednesday we ran it at night and since then, including the 24 hours it has run faultlessly,” said Vanderpal who is a former UAE Touring Car champion.

Every team which competes in a 24 hour race inevitably has an epic story of their adventure, SVDP Racing are no exception as Vanderpal revealed, "We had a few major issues on the steering and track rods, which caused some nervous moments and has us pretty tense, but that is part of 24 hours racing and was to be expected. The car for just a little diesel is phenomenal."

In the end they crossed the line with 476 laps to their credit, which was enough to claim victory in the D1 Class, albeit by a single lap over their nearest rivals which is as close as it gets in endurance races of this nature.

Vanderpal reflected, "Standing on the top step of the Dubai Autodrome podium, my home track, was really emotional. Emotional for our great team and everyone involved.

We put so much time and effort into the car. I have stood on the podium on many occasions in the various UAE national series races.”

He added, “Doing so on an international race of this magnitude, with 82 cars from around the world, and to come first in class is really a great achievement. For me it is my personal best and I am very, very happy."

When asked who he would dedicate the victory to, he did not hesitate, "I have to dedicate this victory to the team. All our mechanics. We as drivers and our friends work on the car as a hobby.

We are all married, with children and have other jobs to do. At my house I built a small garage to store the car, and the guys come around after work and tinker with the car.

As for the drivers we had an international mix from South Africa, Holland, Ireland and two of us from the UK."

"It doesn't get any better," declared Vanderpal.

Dubai Autodrome