- Teams from 14 different nationalities already signed up for Hankook 24H DUBAI
- Hankook 6H ABU DHABI will now take place on 22-23 January
- New Mercedes factory entry – the Haupt Racing Team – to make Dubai debut
- Could the new Brabham BT62 make an appearance in Abu Dhabi?
- Strong Middle East contingent expected
GENNEP (11 September, 2020) – Four months ahead of time, more than 60 cars are already signed up for the 2021 Hankook 24H DUBAI on 14-15-16 January. Upwards of 20 entries have also registered for the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI, now scheduled to take place at the Yas Marina Circuit on 22-23 January.
Traditionally the first endurance event of each new year, and hosted each January at the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome, the Hankook 24H DUBAI has been CREVENTIC’s biggest and most popular race since 2006. The 16th edition of the race looks set to be no different, with teams from 14 different nationalities – including three former overall winners and the new face of Mercedes-AMG GT3 competition – representing more than a dozen different car makers.
The Hankook 6H ABU DHABI meanwhile will be only the second CREVENTIC endurance race to have been hosted at the 5.554km Yas Marina Circuit. The number of entries has already surpassed the inaugural event in 2019, and has even attracted interest from Brabham Motorsport, the British marque behind the new BT62 supercar and a reformation of the team established by three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham in 1960.
Ole Dörlemann, CREVENTIC’s sporting coordinator explains: “The Hankook 24H DUBAI is the biggest event of our season every year, and we’re very pleased to see that our provisional entry list for the 16th edition in 2021 is already looking so strong. Not only will we hopefully have several former winners of the event battling together at the front of the field, but the competition looks equally as tough across all of our other classes as well. And bear in mind we still have four months to go before the green flag drops, so there’s plenty of time for more teams to sign up and experience this truly extraordinary event.
“We’re also very pleased to see that our competitors have taken such an interest in the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI as well. This will be only our second event held at the Yas Marina Circuit, and we’re very confident that all our teams and supporters will make this a memorable start to our 2021 season and hopefully further develop our relationship with one of Grand Prix racing’s most prestigious venues.”
Three former winners of the Hankook 24H DUBAI are set to headline the ‘GT3’ class at the Dubai Autodrome on 14-15-16 January as well as the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI one week after.
24H SERIES mainstay, and 2018 Hankook 24H DUBAI winner, Car Collection Motorsport has registered two Audi R8 LMS Evos, while Herberth Motorsport, also a Dubai winner in 2017, will compete at both events with two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs. WRT, which took the first Hankook 24H DUBAI win for Audi back in 2016, will hope to achieve its third podium in three years with two Audi R8 LMS’.
The winners on CREVENTIC provisional entry list though extends much further than Dubai. Barwell Motorsport, victor at last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA and a former teams’ title holder in the British GT Championship, is eying double duty in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi with its tenured Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. Similarly, CP Racing, which collected the Overall GT Drivers’ championship in the 24H SERIES back in 2018, is also expected to compete in the Middle East with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.
MP Motorsport, which took GT3-AM class victory in Dubai earlier this year, makes its competitive return with its Mercedes-AMG GT3. COMET RACING meanwhile, which has registered a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo 2018 for Dubai, is set to become the first Japanese team since 2018 to enter CREVENTIC’s biggest race.
Sure to be among the lead contenders in CREVENTIC’s ‘Special prototypes’ class is Leipert Motorsport. The German squad took four victories en-route to the Overall GT Teams’ championship in last year’s 24H SERIES Continents, is a former Dubai class winner, and has registered its Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo for both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.GT3 Poland, a new addition to the 24H SERIES, has also registered a raging bull.
Among the most high-profile GT3 entrants thus far though is that of the Haupt Racing Team. Following the announcement earlier this year that Black Falcon, a five-time winner of the Hankook 24H DUBAI, will step back from GT3 competition in 2020, the Haupt Racing Team will replace its German contemporary as Mercedes-AMG’s de facto factory entrant in Dubai. Fittingly, the team will be overseen by team patriarch Hubert Haupt, who, together with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Khaled Al Qubaisi, became a record three-time winner of the Hankook 24H DUBAI at the 15th edition earlier this year.
T3 Motorsport, a 24H SERIES debutant, also looks set to make history in Dubai by becoming the first team to race a Bentley Continental GT3 (two of them in fact!) with CREVENTIC. The racing-counterpart of the luxury British sports car already has 45 wins to its name across the globe, fittingly, made its developmental debut on-track in the Middle East in 2015. T3’s Bentleys will be joined by the German team’s tenured Audi R8 LMS Evo, as well as stand-alone entrants in both the ‘991’ and ‘GT4’ categories.
In a similar vein, V8 Racing, a Hankook 24H DUBAI mainstay and former winner of the Hankook 12H MUGELLO, is set to debut its brand-new Corvette GT3 at the event. Debutant Selleslagh Racing Team SRT will also bring a Corvette – a C6-ZR1 edition thereof – to Dubai alongside its GT4-class Mercedes.
Brabham Motorsport has also expressed an interest in competing at the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI with its new BT62. The track-focused supercar, which won on its competitive debut last November at Brand’s Hatch, is an exclusive racer limited to just 70 units, one for each year since team forebear Sir Jack Brabham starting racing in 1948 up to the company’s reformation in 2018.
Ole Dörlemann, CREVENTIC’s sporting coordinator explains: “To have received interest from Brabham Motorsport is very exciting for the 24H SERIES. David Brabham’s creation is still young but boasts an enormously important motorsport lineage and has already shaken the automotive scene to its foundations with its new supercar, the BT62. We sincerely hope that, come Abu Dhabi 2021, Brabham Motorsport can continue to make more history with the 24H SERIES.”
Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing is among the highest profile TCR teams to have signed up for the Hankook 24H DUBAI. The reigning Overall TCE Teams’ champion is looking to compete with three Volkswagen Golf GTIs for the first time at the event at which it took TCE victory in 2019. The Swiss team will take on fellow Volkswagen runner Holmgaard Motorsport – the eponymous team of former factory Chevrolet touring car driver Kim – and AC Motorsport, the TCE winner of this year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI. The latter is even interested in competing in Abu Dhabi with two Audi RS3 LMS’.
TOPCAR Sport, the TCE winner of last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, will be eying another 24-hour victory in Dubai, while Team Sally Racing makes a step up from the ‘A2’ class to ‘TCR’ with a CUPRA TCR. The latter is set to make its first 24H SERIES start in over two years in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
LAMERA-CUP has registered two entries for its eponymous lightweight sports cars. The French team became a class winner in the 24H SERIES at the 2018 Hankook 24H PORTIMAO, and is set to make a series return after a near two-year absence. The Netherlands’ PK Carsport, a regular in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, will also make its 24H SERIES at Dubai next year in the TCX class with its own BMW M2 C2. Sorg Rennsport, the current standings leader in the 24H SERIES Europe, will also be powered by BMW in both the TCX and GT4 classes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
CREVENTIC also expects both the Hankook 24H DUBAI and Hankook 6H ABU DHABI to receive considerable interest from Middle East competitors. GPX Racing, a former winner of the 24 Hours of Spa, is lining up its Porsche 991 GT3 R for the Hankook 24H DUBAI. 2 Seas Motorsport, the Bahraini team owned by His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, is set to make its 24H SERIES debut in Dubai with a pair of McLaren 720S GT3s.
Dragon Racing, which is based at the Dubai Autodrome itself, is also eyeing entries at both events for its Mercedes-AMG GT4 and Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo in the GT4 and GTX classes respectively. A former overall class podium finisher in 2015, Dragon Racing took its maiden class win at the Hankook 24H DUBAI earlier this year in the GT4 category.
Ole Dörlemann, CREVENTIC’s sporting coordinator explains: “In our opinion, the Hankook 24H DUBAI is one of the most significant 24-hour races on the planet, boasting international flare and gravitas. But CREVENTIC is also very respectful of its Middle Eastern competitors, and it’s always a joy to see so many teams and drivers within the GCC showing their support for ‘their race’. We’re confident interest from within the Middle East will continue to grow over the next few months.”
* Images courtesy of Petr Frýba and Brabham Automotive.