Former Hankook 24H DUBAI class winner SPS automotive-performance is aiming for victory at the 2022 edition with its Mercedes-AMG GT3s, and Saudi Arabia’s first female racing driver, Reema Juffali.
SPS automotive-performance has confirmed the liveries and driver line-ups of the two Mercedes-AMG GT3s with which it is “looking to challenge for overall victory” at the Hankook 24H DUBAI on 13-14-15 January.
The German team has entered a Mercedes-AMG in both GT3-PRO and GT3-AM for Dubai with hopes of taking victory in both categories. SPS automotive has regularly at the event since 2015, taking A6-Am class victory and finishing 4th overall in 2018.
For 2022, the team will field eight drivers from seven different countries, including Reema Juffali, Saudi Arabia’s first female racing driver. So confident is SPS automotive in its driver line-up, the German team has stated it can “definitely count itself among the favourites to take the class victory” at the Dubai Autodrome.
“We are very excited about the first highlight of the season and are incredibly proud to line up with such strong and well-balanced driver pairings,” explains SPS team principal Stephan Sohn. “As it is every year, the opposition will be strong and a lot can happen over the course of the race. However, with a good strategy and a little luck, we can be right up there at the front of the field this year.”
In the #75 PRO entry, which dons a vibrant Sun Energy livery, Maro Engel (GER) will team with Kenny Habul (AUS), Mikaël Grenier (CAN), and Jules Gounon (FRA). Alongside outright victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2016, Engel also finished 3rd overall at last year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI with Haupt Racing Team. Fellow GT3 specialist Gounon is a former winner of the Bathurst 12 Hours and also took victory at the Spa 24 Hours in 2017. That same year, the Frenchman won the ADAC GT Masters and, ironically, made his most recent start in the 24H SERIES (Dubai with Konrad Motorsport). Grenier and SunEnergy1 CEO Habul meanwhile finished 2nd in-class at the Daytona 24 Hours.
In the sister #20 AM Mercedes, Reema Juffali (KSA) will drive alongside Valentin Pierburg (GER), George Kurtz (USA) and Ian Loggie (GBR). Juffali most recently competed in British Formula 3 and acted as the official ambassador for the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
"I'm delighted to announce that I'll be contesting the [Hankook] 24H DUBAI with such an established team like SPS,” Juffali explains. “I'm really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG GT3. It's an absolute beast of a car and I've seen really strong results in testing. I've made no secret of my passion for endurance racing so to be kicking off my 2022 racing campaign with my first ever 24-hour race definitely feels like massive progress.
“To be competing so close to home on a track where I started my racing career is going to make it even more special for me.”
Long-time 24H SERIES competitor Pierburg won the A6-Am class with SPS automotive in Dubai in 2018, while fellow series stalwart Loggie, the reigning Pro-Am British GT Champion, made his GT3 debut at the Hankook 24H DUBAI in 2021 with Herberth Motorsport. Finally, 2017 World Challenge GTS-Am champion Kurtz makes his first series start since finishing 2nd in-class in Dubai in 2020.
SPS automotive-performance, founded in 2003, is among the 28 entries already registered for GT3 competition at the Hankook 24H DUBAI. Other notable entries include former outright event winners Car Collection Motorsport, Herberth Motorsport and Schubert Motorsport, three-time event winner Hubert Haupt’s eponymous team, and reigning Overall GT Teams’ champion ST-Racing. The latter will make its GT3-class debut in Dubai with two brand-new BMW M4 GT3s.