New Porsche Middle East race series starts in Bahrain Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East sends Saudi driver into record books Bahrain. The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East gets under way in Bahrain tomorrow with some of the...
New Porsche Middle East race series starts in Bahrain
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East sends Saudi driver into record books
Bahrain. The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East gets under way in Bahrain tomorrow with some of the region's most promising young drivers facing a 12-round battle for supremacy and one of them instantly winning a place in the record books.
The new one-make motor racing series makes its debut with the opening two rounds featuring in the busy "Speed Weekend" programme taking place at Bahrain International Circuit as part of the National Day celebrations.
It is the first of six big race weekends for the series, with other rounds following over the next four months at Reem International Circuit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
The mood of the drivers as they prepared for the start of the series was summed up by Saudi Fahad Algosaibi who, at the age of 16 years 131 days, becomes the youngest driver to compete in a Porsche worldwide. "We'll be racing at three great circuits over the next few months and the series is going to be very competitive, so like everyone else I'm excited to be taking part," said Algosaibi, who already has a top five finish to his credit this year in Asia Formula racing.
Sponsored by Michelin and Mobil 1, the new series, organised and managed by Austrian-based Lechner Racing on behalf of Porsche Middle East & Africa, was officially launched at a press conference this morning at Bahrain International Circuit.
"The series has taken a great deal of planning and it's a regional version of the GT3 Cup one-make series already running successfully in Brazil, New Zealand and the USA," said Walter Lechner, who has managed many Porsche racing events and teams over the years.
"As this is a one-make motor racing series, all the competitors drive identical, equally well-prepared racing versions of production cars, and we see this as an exciting opportunity to work with Porsche to uncover and nurture new motor racing talent in the Middle East."
The new 2010 model Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, from a special series built by Porsche AG, arrived in Bahrain a few days ago after being shipped from Europe. They were being tested by the drivers for the first time today on the 3.36 miles (5.41km) Bahrain Grand Prix Circuit.
Deesch Papke, Managing Director, Porsche Middle East & Africa, commented: "Our aim is to identify top Arab and local-based talent in the Middle East and help prepare them for entry into the world of international GT and sports car racing. At the same time, the series will underline Porsche's unmatched expertise in building successful sports cars for the road and the race track." Also attending the press conference was Gerd Schmid of Porsche Motorsport who congratulated Lechner Racing and Porsche Middle East & Africa on the establishment of this exciting new racing series.
Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdulaziz Al Faisal, who has contested seven rounds of this year's Porsche Supercup and scored a top ten finish in Hungary, now hopes for a flying start in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. "I'm really looking forward to it. It is a chance to test myself against some of the other best young drivers in the region after my participation in the Supercup this year," he said. "I'm very excited about the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and can't wait to get to know it. "
Abu Dhabi's Khaled Al Qubaisi, who entered sports car racing only in August, is equally enthusiastic. "It's going to be very competitive and I'm ready for the challenge against the region's best," he said. "I'm gaining good experience all the time and the Porsche GT3 Cup will be an important part of the learning curve for me."
Among the other drivers eager for action in Bahrain is Prince Khalid Al Faisal, a cousin of Prince Abdulaziz, who tasted victory in the Supercars Middle East Championship event supporting last month's Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix.
Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Rashid Al Khalifa, who won the first ever race at the Yas Marina Circuit In November, also hopes to make a big challenge for honours.