Hankook 24H DUBAI frontrunner Haupt Racing Team has confirmed that three-time winners Hubert Haupt and Khaled Al Qubaisi, and Mercedes factory drivers Jules Gounon and Luca Stolz will compete in the German team’s two-car, Mercedes-AMG GT3 line-up.
Words – James Gent
Images – Haupt Racing Team
Haupt Racing Team, the eponymous outfit of three-time Hankook 24H DUBAI winner Hubert Haupt, has confirmed the driver line-ups for its two Mercedes-AMG GT3s for the 2023 event.
HRT made its debut as a Mercedes-AMG customer squad at the 2021 Hankook 24H DUBAI, impressing with 3rd overall and GT3-AM class victory first time out. The German team also finished with both Mercedes in the overall top five at the 2022 edition.
For the 2023 edition on 13-14-15 January, HRT has now confirmed that team founder Haupt will share the team’s #4 Mercedes with fellow three-time winner, and Emirati competitor, Khaled Al Qubaisi, Mercedes factory driver Jules Gounon, and Sébastien Baud. While the latter will make his Hankook 24H DUBAI debut in January, Gounon will make his fourth start having finished 3rd overall with HRT last year.
In the team’s #777 entry meanwhile, which will run in collaboration with Oman’s ‘Al Manar Racing’ for the second year in a row, Mercedes factory driver Luca Stolz will compete alongside ADAC GT Masters frontrunner Fabian Schiller, Al Faisal Al Zubair, Martin Konrad, and 2022 Hankook 24H DUBAI winner, Axcil Jefferies.
“HRT is returning to the [Hankook] 24H DUBAI in 2023 with the feeling of some unfinished business, having narrowly missed the podium in 2022,” said team principal Sean Paul Breslin. “We have two very strong driver lineups and the team has been preparing over the winter for the big challenge ahead.
“After the short festive break, it is back to business and pushing for the best result in the first race of the 2023 season!”
Omans’ Al Zubair goes into his third Hankook 24H DUBAI having 5th with Al Manar Racing in 2022, while Konrad, an A6-Am class winner in 2019, is set to make his sixth event start in 2023. Stolz will be looking for his maiden event podium in 2023, Schiller make his first start at the Hankook 24H DUBAI.
Alongside the possibility of both Haupt and Al Qubaisi claiming a record-breaking fourth overall win at the Hankook 24H DUBAI in 2023, Jefferies’ seat is also significant. The Zimbabwe driver secured his first two overall wins at the event consecutively in 2021 and 2022, doing so aboard a GPX Racing-run Porsche 911 GT3 R in 2021 and an MS7 by WRT-entered Audi R8 LMS in 2022. If Jefferies were to take a third win this January in a Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG, he would become the first driver in the event’s 18-year history to take three overall GT wins with three different teams having driven three different brands of car. He would also become the first driver to take three overall GT wins consecutively.