Having sealed GT3-AM class victory at this past weekend’s Hankook 24H DUBAI, reigning Continents GT Trophy winner CP Racing will be looking to seal GT3 Middle East Trophy honours at this weekend’s Hankook 6H ABU DHABI.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba Photography / Racing Pixels
Reigning Continents GT Trophy winner CP Racing heads into this weekend’s Hankook 6H ABU DHABI at the head of the GT3 standings in CREVENTIC’s Middle East Trophy following its recent GT3-AM class win at the 2023 Hankook 24H DUBAI.
The American team secured its first overall championship honours in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook – the GT Continents Trophy – when it took overall victory at the inaugural Hankook 12H KUWAIT. In doing so, and with Kuwait kicking off CREVENTIC’s new, three-round national series, CP Racing also got its Middle East Trophy campaign off to the best possible start.
GT3-AM honours in Dubai – the team’s second consecutive class win at the event – means CP Racing now holds a strong lead over nearest category rival, ARC Bratislava, the latter of which returns to action this weekend in Abu Dhabi. CP Racing will also make its race debut at the Hankook 24H DUBAI.
More significantly, with CP Racing finishing 9th overall at the Hankook 24H DUBAI, the American team now holds a narrow four-point lead in the overall GT3 Teams’ standings in the Middle East Trophy over Team GP-Elite. With the Dutch team not scheduled to compete this weekend in Abu Dhabi however, CP Racing’s nearest actual rivals for overall GT3 honours will be fellow 24H SERIES staple, Herberth Motorsport. The Bavarian team, having missed Kuwait altogether last December, finished 2nd overall at last weekend’s Hankook 24H DUBAI, and could propel itself into the Middle East Trophy hot seat with a strong result at the Yas Marina Circuit.
A hard-fought runners-up spot in Dubai means Herberth Motorsport now leads the GT3-PRO/AM Teams’ standings in CREVENTIC’s Middle East Trophy, albeit by just 12 points over nearest category rival – and reigning European GT Trophy winner – Phoenix Racing. Similarly, Alfred and Robert Renauer, who this weekend team-up with father and son Markus and Felix Neuhofer, are on course to take GT3-PRO/AM Drivers’ honours, though Phoenix Racing’s Elia Erhart, Michael Doppelmayr, and Pierre Kaffer will be keen to put a tough Hankook 24H DUBAI behind them with a strong result.
CP Racing staples Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub, Joe Foster and Shane Lewis meanwhile currently lead both the GT3 Drivers’ and GT3-AM Drivers’ standings in the Middle East Trophy, and will be keen to replicate their recent triumph in Dubai to secure the team a second title in three races.
On-track action for the third annual Hankook 6H ABU DHABI is set to begin with three private test sessions on Friday 20 January before the competition truly begins on Saturday 21 January: after one hour of Free Practice at 09.00 hrs local time and 55 minutes of Qualifying from 13.00 hrs onwards, the green flag for the six-hour endurance event itself will be flown at 16.00 hrs, with the race set to run uninterrupted until 22.00 hrs that evening.