A Hankook 24H DUBAI event regular since 2011, Switzerland’s FACH AUTO TECH secured its best-ever result – a 1-2 finish in-class – at the 2023 edition of the event.
Words – James Gent
Images – Petr Frýba Photography / Racing Pixels
FACH AUTO TECH celebrated its third class win at the Hankook 24H DUBAI with a commanding 1-2 finish in the 992 class.
The Swiss made its event debut in the A6 class in 2011, and since then has secured category wins in both A6-Am (2013) and 991-Pro (2018), as well as two further podium finishes in 2013 (3rd, A6-Am) and 2017 (3rd, SPX). The 2023 Hankook 24H DUBAI though marked the most successful event for FACH AUTO TECH to-date, with its duo of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars finishing 1st and 2nd in the 992 class, six laps clear of nearest contender, Duel Racing by Toro Verde.
Ironically, FACH AUTO TECH’s best result at the Hankook 24H DUBAI comes just one year after its worst: at the 2022 edition, and for the first time, neither of the Swiss team’s Porsches reached the finish.
“That was a really fantastic team performance,” explains team principal Alex Fach, who competed in the #961 Porsche alongside Peter Hegglin, Jan Klingelnberg, Christof Langer, and Christopher Zöchling. “We gave it everything for 24 hours and were rewarded with a one-two result – we are really happy with that. We were aiming for the top step of the podium and we achieved that goal. The 992 class was the largest in the field with a number of strong teams competing, so I think we can be very proud with our performance.
“This has given us plenty of motivation for the rest of the year. We will be taking this positive energy with us into the single-make Porsche series.”
Though qualifying proved a mixed affair for the Swiss team – the #962, driven by Alexander Schwarzer, Gabriel Rindone, Larry ten Voorde, Matthias Hoffsümmer and Huub van Eijndhoven, started from 4th on the 992 grid, two places behind the sister #961 Porsche – the opening stages of the race proved particularly fruitful, with ten Voorde and Schwarzer moving the #962 into the class lead for two of the opening three hours. Prolonged Code 60s meant the Swiss Porsche dropped back to 3rd in-class behind Red Camel-Jordans.nl and Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors, but regularly remained within 30 seconds of striking distance.
Matters improved considerably when the leading Red Camel Porsche ground to a halt with gearbox issues at quarter distance. That put FACH AUTO TECH up to 2nd in-class behind former 991 Teams’ champion Willi Motorsport by Ebimotors, albeit briefly, as front left suspension failure ended up dropping the Romanian-Italian outfit almost 10 laps back, and put the #962 at the front of the field. From half-distance, the #962 was never led, and eventually collected the chequered for class victory while running 11th overall.
“For the first time in my life I am lost for words,” ten Voorde continues. “This is my fourth time at this race and never have I tasted victory – until now that is!” – The Dutchman finished 2nd in-class with Team GP-Elite in 2022. – “Without my teammates, a quick car and a great strategy by the team, none of this would be possible of course. It’s great that the sister car finished in 2nd place, too. It was a close-run thing between us at the end.”
Delays during two prolonged Code 60s meant the #961 dropped to 10th in-class during the opening hour, a strong fightback meaning the Porsche ran regularly in the top four thereafter. Issues for Red Camel and Willi Motorsport though, plus an on-track moment for QMMF by HRT Thuraya Qatar, with which FACH had been competing, meant the #961 briefly leapfrogged into the class lead at the 11-hour mark. After a full 24 hours of racing, during which neither FACH AUTO TECH suffered mechanical issue or on-track calamity, the pair were split by just a few minutes at the flag, the #961 rounding out a perfect weekend with 12th overall on the road.
“We worked really hard for the whole weekend and found a brilliant set-up,” said Zöchling. “We were able to complete the race without any major technical difficulties, mistakes or collisions, and the car ran like clockwork. That’s not something that be taken for granted in an endurance race. The podium is just reward for all the hard work.”