Dubai 24H: Series preview

Numerous champions and race winners on the grid for 6th running Dunlop 24H of Dubai GENNEP (December 10th, 2010) With a little bit more than one month to go before the sixth running of the Dunlop 24H of Dubai, the first international motor race...

Numerous champions and race winners on the grid for 6th running Dunlop 24H of Dubai

GENNEP (December 10th, 2010) With a little bit more than one month to go before the sixth running of the Dunlop 24H of Dubai, the first international motor race of the new year on January 13th, 14th and 15th, 2011, gets underway, the field of participants is shaping up more and more. "We are proud of having a capacity grid of 90 teams", says Gerrie Willems on behalf of Dutch agency, CREVENTIC, initiators and organisers of the Dunlop 24H of Dubai. "The first cars are already on their way, for instance from Australia, and the ships from Europe are leaving this week. Numerous teams have also finished their line-ups and we have an exceptionally strong field."

The participation of no less than three Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGs is eagerly awaited. The GT3 competition version of the spectacular sports car with its gullwing doors will be making its 24h racing debut in Dubai. Among the drivers is five times' DTM champion Bernd Schneider, who was closely involved with the development of the car. Christiaan Frankenhout, who won the inaugural Dutch GT4 championship title in 2009, will also be racing an SLS AMG. But of course, there are many more impressive sports cars. No less than eleven Porsche 997 GT3 Cup cars have been registered. These machines will be racing in a separate class. Among the Porsche drivers is former DTM champion Kurt Thiim, six times' DTM race winner Roland Asch, the reigning German Porsche Carrera Cup champion Nicolas Armindi, two times' British Carrera Cup champion Damien Faulkner and former ETCC champion Michel Nykjaer, now a regular in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).

The entry list also includes three Ferrari F430s with well-known American NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip as one of the drivers. A good performance can also be expected from the BMW Z4s with WTCC drivers Franz Engstler and Kristian Poulsen, fast German lady racer Claudia Hurtgen and versatile American Boris Said among the drivers. Lamborghinis will be on the grid for the Dunlop 24H of Dubai for the very first time, the drivers include Dutch stalwart Peter Kox and French ex-DTM-racer Fabien Giroix. Adding to Porsche's strong presence in the event are numerous RSR, R and Cup S machines in the A6 category. "But it is certainly not just about the classes for the big and powerful cars like the Porsche Cup class, A6 and SP2 and 3", Gerrie Willems emphasises. "The classes for the slightly less powerful cars like A2, A3T and A4 and of course the two diesel classes D1 and D2 have a total of 30 entrants among them, accounting for one third of the total entry."

A logistical masterpiece

Shipping cars, equipment and tyres to Dubai for the race is a logistical masterpiece. "Over the years, we have attracted quite a few teams from the United Arab Emirates, for whom the race is a home event", says Willems. "For all the other teams, cars and equipment have to be shipped to Dubai. Some 40 teams are sending their containers from Rotterdam. More containers are being sent from the ports of Genua, Barcelona, Brisbane, Hong Kong and ports in France and the UK. Next to the cars and the equipment of the teams, there are also more than ten containers of 40 feet each, packed with tyres from our event sponsor Dunlop to ensure that the right tyres are available for all the 90 teams."

Additional testing facilities on Wednesday, changed qualifying format

In addition to the popular "rent-a-car-rides" on Wednesday, January 12th, and the two free practice sessions on Thursday, January 13th, an additional test session has been scheduled on Wednesday from 13.30 till 17.30 h. "We have done this to meet the demands from the teams who wanted more track time with the race cars", says Gerrie Willems. Qualifying is scheduled to take place on Thursday from 15.00 till 17.30 h. Here, the format has been revised: the first hour is open to all competitors while qualifying from 16.15 till 16.45 h is limited to competitors from the classes A1 to A5, D1, D2 and A3T and from 17.00 till 17.30 h, the track has been reserved for the cars from the bigger classes A6, SP2, SP3 and 997. Qualifying will be followed by night practice from 18.00 till 20.00 h. Warm-up is due to take place on Friday, January 14th, from 10.30 till 11.00 h, after which the 24- hour race gets underway at 14.00 h.

-source: 24hseries

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Series Endurance
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Boris Said , Claudia Hurtgen , Bernd Schneider , Damien Faulkner , Peter Kox , Franz Engstler , Fabien Giroix , Kurt Thiim , Gerrie Willems , Kristian Poulsen , Roland Asch , Christiaan Frankenhout