- All but one GT winner since 2012 will be on the grid in Dubai in 2021.
- McLaren 720S GT3 and Dodge SRT Viper GT3-R set to make 24H SERIES debut.
- Dubai class winner and former series champion among the favourites in ‘GTX’
- Can ‘991’ entrant MRS GT-Racing takes its third consecutive event win?
- Autorama Motorsport / Red Camel-Jordans.nl / AC Motorsport rivalry continues in ‘TCR’
Up to 65 cars have already been registered for next January’s Hankook 24H DUBAI on 14-15-16 January 2021, a provisional grid that already includes four former event winners and teams from 16 different nations representing 15 car brands.
Black Falcon, a record-setting five-time winner of the event (two with Abu Dhabi Racing), has entered a loan Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the 2021 Hankook 24H DUBAI. The German team took its fifth win in Dubai earlier this year in January, emulating its earlier victories in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018. In 2020, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Hubert Haupt and Khaled Al Qubaisi also became the first drivers to win the event outright earlier this year in January.
Herberth Motorsport, which won the Hankook 24H DUBAI in 2017 en-route to that year’s 24H SERIES Continents title, has confirmed two Porsche 991 GT3 Rs for Dubai. With both the #91 and #92 Porsches in contention for the Overall GT Teams’ title in the European and Continental in 2020, the Bavarian team could well go into next year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI as a double champion.
Car Collection Motorsport secured Audi’s second win at the Hankook 24H DUBAI in 2019 and will compete in the UAE with its customary two-car R8 LMS line-up. As indeed will WRT, which, as Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, secured the first win in Dubai for Audi in 2016.
Confirmation that Black Falcon, Herberth Motorsport, Car Collection Motorsport and WRT will be on the grid in Dubai means that every Hankook 24H DUBAI winner since 2012, barring only 2014 winner Stadler Motorsport, will be competing for another win in the United Arab Emirates this January.
Safe to say other entrants confirmed for the top tier GT3 class will also be at the sharp end at the 2021 Hankook 24H DUBAI. 2019 Hankook 24H BARCELONA winner Barwell Motorsport returns to the series with its Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo. MP Motorsport, this year’s GT3-AM class winner in Dubai, returns to the event with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo as will former Overall GT Teams’ champion, CP Racing. COPPA FLORIO 12H Sicily winner GPX Racing will also be back for its home event after confirming its Porsche 991 GT3 R will be in action.
Bahrain’s own 2 Seas Motorsport is set to bring two McLaren 720 GT3s for its maiden 24H SERIES event in Dubai, as indeed will Britain’s Optimum Motorsport. Similarly, Team Zakspeed, which since its foundation in 1968 has competed in Formula 1, German Formula 3, Superleague Formula and ADAC GT Masters among many others, is set to compete with both a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and, for the first time in the 24H SERIES, a Dodge SRT Viper GT3-R.
With Selleslagh Racing Team and V8 Racing both confirming Chevrolet Corvettes and 3Y Technology set to run a BMW M6 GT3, the 2021 Hankook 24H DUBAI could feature nine different marques in the GT3 category.
Competition could be close in the ‘GTX’ class with Dragon Racing, Leipert Motorsport, Slovakia’s ARC Bratislava and GT3 Poland all confirming single Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeos. Dubai-based Dragon Racing took GTX victory at its home event in 2020, the last start to-date in the 24H SERIES for former 24H SERIES Continent Overall GT Teams’ champion, Leipert Motorsport. The only outlier thus far in GTX is Vortex V8, which is set to run its eponymous sports prototype at an event at which the French team took ‘SP3’ class victory in 2019.
24H SERIES stalwarts NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing, DUWO Racing, Hong Kong’s Modena Motorsports, and Speed Lover, the latter of which is an Overall GT Teams’ title contender in 2020, have all confirmed entries for the ‘991’ class in Dubai, as have
MRS GT-Racing has confirmed two entries in the ‘991’ class and will be gunning for its third Hankook 24H DUBAI class win in succession in 2021, following its ‘991’ win in 2020 and ‘GT4’ win in 2019. HRT Performance meanwhile is set to make a long-awaited return to the 24H SERIES. The German team has entered three Porsche 991-II Cups in the ‘991’ class, and was a two-time class winner on its previous run with CREVENTIC in 2017.
A 12-strong ‘GT4’ field thus far boasts entries from former Hankook 24H DUBAI class winner Century Motorsport, Canadian GT specialist ST Racing, and 3Y Technology, each of which will compete with a BMW M4 GT4. As indeed will Team Avia Sorg Rennsport. The German team took its first class win of the 2020 season earlier this year in Hockenheim, and goes into this year’s season finale at the top of the 24H SERIES Continents Overall GT Teams’ standings.
Other notable entrants include the second Dragon Racing squad and British Touring Car Championship mainstay Ciceley Motorsport, both of which, like perennial 24H SERIES runner Jönsson consult / eva solo and Japan’s COMET RACING will compete with a Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Newly crowned Overall TCE Teams’ champion Autorama Motorsport by WolfPower Racing has confirmed two Volkswagen Golf GTis and is set to continue it long-standing rivalry with fellow TCR class winners Red Camel-Jordans.nl and AC Motorsport. TOPCAR Sport, a former TCE winner at the Hankook 24H BARCELONA, will return to championship action with its CUPRA TCR, while Kim Holmgaard’s family-run team, Holmgaard Motorsport, will be gunning for a maiden TCR podium with Volkswagen.
LAMERA-CUP, another former class winner in the 24H SERIES, is set to lead the ‘TCX’ charge in Dubai with its two Lamera Cup lightweight prototypes. Former TCR class champion Nordschleife Racing will start its second full season in the 24H SERIES with the Ligier JSR 2, while Team Sally Racing is set to make its first series start since 2017. Series debutant PK Carsport and Team Avia Sorg Rennsport’s second entry have confirmed BMW M2 C2s.
Further details on the 2021 Hankook 24H DUBAI and how teams can register for the event can be found at the links below.
Words by James Gent
Images by Petr Frýba