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I attended the Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival at the challenging Dubai Autodrome track, I remembered my childhood memories watching the F1 and Group C on TV, what a feeling of nostalgia, love childhood memories. I witnessed the most historic iconic cars from the world, the F1 cars from 1970 to 1985, Group C cars from 1982 to 1992 and GTP prototypes, inspected the cars at the pits and then watched them race on the track, hitting excessive speeds of more than 200 km/h, truly exhilarating experience it was, adrenalized. The Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival was sponsored by REBELLION TIMEPIECES and I thank Mr. Calim Bouhadra, CEO of Rebellion Timepieces and Sophie from the bottom of my heart for arranging an invite for me and powered by Gulf Historic, which took place on December 2-3, 2021.
Team Rebellion powered two cars, driven by Cyril Despres, the five-time Dakar winner and FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion rider and the other driver was Mathieu Baumel, the two-time Dakar winner, shared one of the two Argo JM19Ds.
The other car was the Hesketh 308, driven by Oliver Webb, who won the European Le Mans Series in LMP2 and the 24 Hours of Dubai.
The Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival celebrated their 40th anniversary of their first Formula 1 Grand Prix held in Dubai in 1981, which was organized to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates in 1981. This historic event was held under the patronage of the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and the world’s best and famous drivers of that time participated; some were Nigel Mansel, Juan Manual Fangio, Carol Shelby and Sir Stirling Moss.
“The key words will be: “sun, speed & fun. We are extremely happy and proud to continue with Rebellion Timepieces the exciting adventure we started earlier this year in the framework of the international Grand Touring races. We have already shared the emotion of GPX Racing’s victory in the 1000 km of the Paul Ricard circuit, but from the start the idea was to forge a global partnership between our two groups. Continuing together on the organisation of Gulf Historic was therefore an obvious choice. Such an event, which will be both a competition and a great celebration of classic cars, fits well with our respective identities. And I’m sure we’ll have more opportunities to collaborate again in the future.” said PIERRE-BRICE MENA, GULF HISTORIC OPERATIONS MANAGER.
“It is an honour for Rebellion Timepieces to be involved as GPX’s main and strategic partner for the Gulf Historic; we have already shared some memorable moments with them during the GT World Challenge and look forward to continuing the partnership with such a high profile event. The Middle East is full of car enthusiasts who share our vision of motorsport and together we will make this event a great celebration. Furthermore, the timing is perfect; it is an exceptional opportunity to roll out this organisation at the same time as the World Expo, the UAE’s anniversary and 40 years after the first Dubai Grand Prix. We can’t wait to be part of the adventure!” said Mr. CALIM BOUHADRA, CEO OF REBELLION CORPORATION.
The Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival was powered by Gulf Historic.
GPX Events is the promoter of the Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival, their parent is The GP Extreme group, which organized the first edition in Abu Dhabi in 2017 and has plans to organize more historic race series in the Middle East.
Rebellion Timepieces the main Strategic sponsor/partner and the official timekeeper of Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival, the famous brand of high-end Swiss watches presented the exclusive sporty chic limited edition Gulf Historic watch, the Twenty-One GMT Gulf Historic and their four racing ambassadors competed with their vintage/classic racing cars.
The Twenty-One GMT Gulf Historic is limited to 50 timepieces, having the classy cushion-shaped steel casing, with the steering wheel layout inspired by the design of the iconic classic cars. To portray its vintage look, it has a nubuck leather strap, in orange, brown, and green, with the Gulf Historic logo stamped. This variation adopts vintage look combining the black of the case with timeless lines with elements in warm copper tones.
Dubai Autodrome, the UAE’s first premier motorsport and motoring venue in the Middle East, hosted the nostalgic race powered by Gulf Historic on 3rd December 2021, in celebration of the UAE’s 50th Anniversary and paying homage to the 1981 Dubai Grand Prix.
After a fabulous exhilarating race day and activities, Faisal Al Sahlawi, Dubai Autodrome General Manager commented: “It was great to see the history of motorsport on display and on track at Dubai Autodrome for our first Historic Grand Prix. Congratulations to Oli Webb for winning the F1 races and Marc Devis and Danny O’Connell for their success in Group C.
Thanks to the teams and drivers who made this event special as well as our sponsors, partners, our Dubai Autodrome team here at the track, marshals, officials and of course those fans who turned out to experience this event,”
Next to the pits, there was an amazing exhibition of classic and vintage car show organized by Flat 12 and Tomini Classics, and other various activities, certified pedal karts for kids, newly opened paddock side coffee house; ‘The Cars Cafe’ with live band performance, which turned to the podium for the winners, the DRVN food truck, motoring memorabilia booth, the REBELLION TIMEPIECES lounge, NGK booth, MINI lounge with their truly classic minis. I really enjoyed the delicious authentic Neapolitan chicken pesto pizza with coca cola at the DRVN food truck, delectable pizza, watching the astonishing classic cars exhibited, such as the Lamborghini Countach and the SUV LM, Ferrari Daytona, RollsRoyce, Bentley, 911, the real exotic classic cars. Wow, just mind blowing.
The results of the victorious winners of the first Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival was the British driver, Oliver Webb in F1, who drove excellently at the undulating shape of the 5.4km Grand Prix circuit- the Dubai Autodrome and the other winner, Devis-O’Connell in Group C / GTP. Oliver is a superb talented driver, and I was very lucky to meet him. Oliver Webb drove the James Hunt’s iconic Hesketh 308, which dominated the races, in pole position, a power pot, always leading with a good distance and time, winning by over 18 seconds, marking the fastest and best lap of 1:55.648 on Friday, 3rd December 2021. In the 1975 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, it was James Hunt who drove to his first World Championship Grand Prix win in the Hesketh 308.
All the experts predicted, Oliver will win, which he did with vim and vigour, with four podium finishes, for all four races, victory in two races.
“Two pole positions, two fastest laps and two victories. You could say that it all went pretty well,” said Oliver Webb. Adding further, “A week ago I didn’t even know that I’d be driving this car that represents so much for us Brits as it’s the one in which James Hunt one of our world champions revealed his talent. It was just such an honour to drive such amazing cars, James Hunt’s car and the sports cars I drove this weekend are very special. This was a great event which I hope only gets bigger and bigger.”
Oliver Webb in the past won the European Le Mans Series in LMP2 and the 24 Hours of Dubai.
Marc Devis with Martin O’Connell, the duo team won 2 races in the pink #40 3.5-litre Ford Cosworth-powered Spice SE90P, powered by a Ford Cosworth engine owned by Marc Devis, from the RMD Classic workshop and is a specialist on historic/vintage/classic cars.
“I’ve been racing in historic events for 20 years, but I’d never driven a Group C before,” explained the Belgian, Marc Devis. Adding, “At the end of 2020 the opportunity to get my hands on this Spice arose at the worst possible moment, namely when I couldn’t stop myself from buying it! We’d never even tested it before sending it to Dubai. We thought we’d give it a shakedown in race conditions here, but it soon showed that it was as reliable as it was quick. I’m very satisfied with these two victories shared with my tuner and friend Martin O’Connell who looks after all my cars.”
Mathieu Baumel was paired with Cyril Despres, both known for their successes in cross-country rallies, finished in the top 3 in the overall classification and second in their class on 3rd Dec 21.
Mathieu Baumel, a two-time Dakar winner, shared one of the two Argo JM19Ds with Cyril Despres, the five-time Dakar winner and FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion rider.
Gulf Historic truly kept up to their philosophy, to “Make Racing Cool Again”
According to Gulf Historic, “We will bring back the flair of motorsports with some of the most iconic cars, guaranteed to turn heads at every corner with their unique designs and furious engines. The village around the track will be living up to the period of the racing cars, guaranteeing a warm atmosphere and an impressive classic car show organized by Flat 12.” Very commendable, heartiest congrats and look forward to the 2022 season, I am always there to support.
The Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival had phenomenal expert drivers, collectors and tuners of historic cars participating, from the professional drivers to the Former winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Spa, the Nürburging, Daytona and Dubaï, and drivers who raced in grand prix in the 1980 and 1990s, who all competitively raced to the challenge.
Apart from the highly experienced and expert drivers, the constructors were equal, for the F1 grid, such as Arrows, Shadow, Hesketh, Tyrrell and amongst the Group C / GTP contenders were the well reputed Rothmans liveried Porsche 962, couple of Spice-Cosworths, March 84G, and the Rondeau M382.
Around 20 cars with main strategic partners such as Rebellion Timepieces and Edmond de Rothschild, executed, implemented and organized the GULF HISTORIC event with major support of GP EVENTS and DUBAI AUTODROME. The participation of the top iconic drivers such as- Oliver Webb, Mathieu Baumel, Cyril Despres, Romain Dumas, Mathieu Jaminet, Julien Andlauer, Jean-Denis Deletraz, Thierry Boutsen and Axcil Jefferies, enthused about 5000 participants and making it a grandeur race event.
For me to have witnessed the 1st Historic Dubai Grand Prix Revival live at the Dubai Autodrome, with the world’s top exceptional drivers, such as Oliver Webb, Romain Dumas, and Mathieu Baumel competing, I am greatly honoured and thank the entire teams of Rebellion Timepieces, Gulf Historic, GP Events, Dubai Autodrome and Dubai.