The endurance, perseverance, passion and guts needed for a 24 hour race, is incredible, coupled with the stamina, suspense, stress prevailing, a cool mind is required too, not only for the drivers, even the pit crews, race team managers, HANKOOK crew and the entire ecosystem, let’s not forget the die hard fans and the race enthusiasts, not leaving out the adrenaline junkies.
The 2022 Hankook Dubai 24 Hour, one of the world’s most exciting 24-hour endurance race, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council. The 16th edition had more than 250 drivers across 54 cars taking part, took place at the Dubai Autodrome and was also the first round of the 2022 24H GT Series and TCE Series. The 24H Series is a sports car racing and touring car racing series developed by Creventic and with approval from the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. It features GT3-spec cars, GT4-spec cars, sports cars, touring cars and 24H-Specials. Hankook 24H Dubai is the opening race of the nine-stop 2021 24H Series.
The 2022 Hankook Dubai 24 Hour, one of the world’s most exciting 24-hour endurance race, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council. The 16th edition had more than 250 drivers across 54 cars taking part, took place at the Dubai Autodrome and was also the first round of the 2022 24H GT Series and TCE Series.
The 24H Series is a sports car racing and touring car racing series developed by Creventic and with approval from the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. It features GT3-spec cars, GT4-spec cars, sports cars, touring cars and 24H-Specials. Hankook 24H Dubai is the opening race of the nine-stop 2021 24H Series.
Faisal Al Sahlawi, Dubai Autodrome General Manager, said of their flagship event: “Under the patronage of the Crown Prince of Dubai and Dubai Autodrome President, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Autodrome started to hold international motorsport events shortly after the circuit was complete in 2004.
“Since then the race has become a fixture on Dubai’s impressive sporting calendar. We like the fact that our event will kick start not only the global motorsport season but also the beginning of the UAE’s impressive international sports calendar.
“Apart from the sporting side, we are proud that this event has quantifiable and proven economic value for not only MotorCity and surrounding areas, but also greater Dubai,” explained Al Sahlawi.
Al Sahlawi continued: “During the course of the three days of qualifying and racing we expect around 25,000 spectators, and for them, we have many activities and paddock entertainment for fans to enjoy.
“However, the highlight has to be the start of the race, when the field of over 80 cars are flagged off in front of a full grandstand. A true spectacle that we at Dubai Autodrome are proud to be part of,” added Al Sahlawi.
At the Hankook 24H DUBAI in the GTX class on the 24H SERIES debut for the GT2-spec Audi R8 LMS, PK Carsport took its second consecutive class win. After 596 laps of racing, Christopher Mies took the chequered flag at the wheel of the number 7 Audi R8 LMS GT3. In doing so, he secured the second overall victory alongside team-mates Dries Vanthoor, Mohammed Saud Fahad al Saud, Axcil Jefferies and Thomas Neubauer, having previously won the prestigious desert marathon in 2016. This was Hankook’s eighth year as title sponsor and exclusive tyre partner of the 24-hour classic, which not only traditionally kicks off the 24H Series powered by Hankook, but also forms the opening round of the international endurance season.
Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud, Axcil Jefferies, Christopher Mies, Dries Vanthoor and Thomas Neubauer won ahead of their teammates, Benjamin Goethe, Arnold Robin, Maxime Robin, Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer and Frédéric Vervisch. For the GT3 version of the Audi R8 LMS, this was already the fifteenth overall victory in the worldwide 24-hour race series since the start of the programme in 2009.
The Belgian team last year competed at the 24H SERIES season opener with a BMW M2 CS Racing, collecting TCX class victory at the Dubai Autodrome on its series debut. For the 2022 event, PK Carsport confirmed it entered the GT division with a GT2-example of Audi’s R8, the most powerful track-going R8 to-date that was developed primarily for gentlemen drivers, and slotted between Ingolstadt’s top tier GT3 and mid-card GT4 upon its launch in 2019.
Christopher Mies (MS7 by WRT), #7Audi R8 LMS GT3: “Our car was set up perfectly and ran fantastically. The whole package was perfect, the entire team did a superb job and fully deserved this great success.”
“We had a fantastic car all week. We had a bit of luck, but also the strategy was on point, so thanks to the whole crew for that! I’m really proud of everyone: drivers, mechanics, engineers, everyone involved. Thank you very much!”
Kantadhee Kusiri (BBR), #159 Cupra TCR DSG: “I don’t know what to say. I am overjoyed. It is an indescribable feeling to stand on the top step of the podium at such a renowned race. I would like to thank everyone who made this success possible.”
“A first endurance victory for the Audi R8 LMS GT2: we can add another first to our list of achievements. The entire PK Carsport team has done an excellent job, and the people at Audi Sport are also delighted with what their car has been able to show. That is also not unimportant.”
“When we bought the car last year, we immediately made it clear to the people at Audi Sport that we did not want to limit ourselves to the GT2 European Series,” PK Carsport team principal Anthony Kumpen explains. “We also wanted to use the car at 24-hour races like this one in Dubai. That is why, together with the people at Audi Sport, we have been looking throughout the year for the necessary adjustments that are necessary for such long-term competitions.
“Different brakes, for example, or extra lights on the car. An adapted drinking system for the drivers, and so on. It is quite a challenge, but we are honoured to be able to tackle it together with the people at Audi Sport. A team of Audi engineers is also present in Dubai, with one who will only take care of our car.”
Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director Europe, : “The organiser, Creventic, has once again put together a great season, which reaches a worthy conclusion with the 24-hour race in Sebring in November. However, we are focusing on the opening round in Dubai, where we will provide all the teams and competitors with best support possible, courtesy of the usual high quality of our Hankook race tyre and a perfect service at the circuit. The trustful partnership with Creventic, which goes beyond pure business, plays an important role. We are able to manage many things quickly and amicably – something that is worth its weight in gold at major motorsport events.”
With three Mercedes-AMG GT3s on the first three rows of the grid, the Customer Racing Teams had secured themselves good starting positions for the first 24-hour highlight of the season. All the three Mercedes-AMG GT3s with the best qualifying positions were affected as well. Both the #4 (Abu Dhabi Racing by HRT, 2nd place on the grid), the #777 (Al Manar Racing by HRT, 3rd place on the grid) and the #75 (Sun Energy 1 by SPS automotive performance, 6th place on the grid) lost numerous positions in the opening part of the race and partly even lost a lap.
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “I am mega proud of our Customer Racing Teams for the fact that, after Abu Dhabi, we were also able to start the new year in such a successful way in Dubai as well. We couldn’t have expected more than the three class wins. Too bad we missed out on the overall win this time, but we gave our opponents a tough battle and can therefore be very confident looking ahead to the next races. I wish our teams the best of luck further on as well. Congratulations to Audi and thanks for the fantastic competition.”
The win also marked a huge success for the Middle East with Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud from Saudi Arabia driving in the winning car. This achievement highlights the growth of the sport in the region and demonstrates the region’s talent and passion for motorsport.
“After first and third place in our customers’ first victory six years ago, and first and second place in 2019, we are really happy with this latest one-two victory by our customers,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Congratulations to WRT Team Principal, Vincent Vosse, and his drivers. We also extend our thanks and congratulations to PK Carsport, Car Collection Motorsport and AC Motorsport, who completed a perfect weekend with their podium finishes.” Team WRT dominated the season opener of the 24H Series. Starting from pole position, the winning No 7 MS7 car driven by WRT led the endurance race for 301 laps. The number 31 followed its sister car like a shadow, posting 210 lead laps itself and crossing the finish line just one lap behind. The next rival followed two laps behind.
Alongside the latest wins for WRT and Audi, and the first for a team running the Saudi Arabian flag, 2022 also marks the first overall Hankook 24H DUBAI win since 2018 for a driver hailing from Saudi Arabia – Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud – and the second in succession for Zimbabwe’s Axcil Jefferies.
Following its early battle with MS7 by WRT, Abu Dhabi Racing by HRT, last year’s GT3-AM winner, finished a miniscule 7.697 seconds behind the SunEnergy1 by SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#75, Kenny Habul / Mikaël Grenier / Maro Engel / Jules Gounon) in a grandstand finish for the final outright podium spot.
A fighting drive saw the Al Manar Racing by HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#777, Al Faisal Al Zubair / Indy Dontje / Luca Stolz / Martin Konrad) finish 5th, having at one stage run as high as 3rd. The result means Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman are all represented in the overall top five.
Al-Zubair teamed up with Dutchman Indy Dontje, Germany’s driver Luca Stolz and Austrian Martin Konrad in the second of two Mercedes-AMG GT3’s run by the Haupt Racing Team. They finished seven laps behind the leading Audi R8 LMS GT3 after completing 589 tours of the Dubai circuit.
Al-Zubair said: “The race was a very good one, definitely a tough one, and we needed two cars. Coming into the Pro category, we knew there was going to be a lot of tough teams. But from practice and qualifying, my team did a really great job, the team and all the drivers.
“We really felt that we had a chance for the win but we had fuel pump issues and lost three laps. From then on, the chance of victory had gone. Definitely a tough one, but finishing fifth out of 82 cars and in the Pro category in my first 24 Hours is something that I should feel proud of.”
The sister Abu Dhabi Racing by HRT car finished fourth in the hands of team owner Hubert Haupt, Khaled Al-Qubaisi, Raffaele Marciello and Manuel Metzger, with the outright race win after 596 laps and 24 hours of demanding racing falling to MS7 by WRT’s Mohammed Saud Fahad Al-Saud, Axcil Jefferies, Dries Vanthoor, Christopher Mies and Thomas Neubauer.
Pole position fell to Team WRT’s Audi R8 LMS GT3, with Al-Zubair’s team-mates Haupt, Al-Qubaisi, Marciello and Metzger lining up in second place on the front row of the grid. The Al-Manar Racing Mercedes was a mere 0.375 seconds off pole position.
In the Hankook 24H Dubai with a high-quality entry, the #75 Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by Customer Racing Team Sun Energy 1 by SPS automotive performance secured third place, just ahead of the fellow Mercedes-AMG drivers in the #4 Abu Dhabi Racing by HRT entry. The decision in the battle for the final podium slot in favour of Maro Engel (GER), Jules Gounon (FRA), Mikaël Grenier (CAN) and Kenny Habul (AUS) only came in the final minutes. In total, six Mercedes-AMG GT3s finished in the top ten of the overall classification. A 1-2 in the GT3-AM class and two further class wins in the GT3-P/A and GT4 categories round out the strong result by the performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach.
A splash-and-dash fuel stop in the closing minutes then still resulted into a position change: driving the #75 entry, Grenier overtook the #4 car and after 593 laps, he secured third place for the Sun Energy 1 by SPS automotive performance team. 7.697 seconds down, Marciello and the #4 Abu Dhabi Racing by HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 had to make do with fourth place. Luca Stolz rounded out the outstanding brand result for Mercedes-AMG by crossing the finish line in fifth place with the #777 Al Manar Racing by HRT car.
Maro Engel, Sun Energy 1 by SPS automotive performance #75: “After a race that was really incredibly tough, finishing on the podium is a fantastic result for us. We had many different situations that made us drop back. During the night, we had a few minor contacts as well that caused some damage to our Mercedes-AMG GT3. Nevertheless, we kept on fighting. Huge compliments to the team that made sure we made it through with the car. The podium is a great reward for the hard work by SPS. Huge congrats also to Kenny who has put in a fantastic drive. I am happy that he was able to celebrate his maiden overall podium finish in the Dubai 24-hour race.”
Ole Dorlemann, organiser Creventic: “We are proud to have had Hankook on board as official tyre supplier for eight years already. In the last two years, in which we have been confronted with many external challenges, Hankook has always proven to be a reliable and strong partner. We are pleased to be able to continue this partnership over the coming years. Hankook’s wealth of experience in endurance racing, and the committed and professional support it provides at each of our events, make Hankook one of the most important pillars within the framework of the 24H Series powered by Hankook.”
The SPS automotive performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#20, Valentin Pierburg / George Kurtz / John Loggie / Reema Juffali), for which Saudi Arabia’s first female racing driver Reema Juffali competed in her maiden GT3 and endurance race, finished 9th overall and 2nd in the GT3-AM class. The MP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#19, Henk de Jong / Daniel de Jong / Bert de Heus / Jaap van Lagen) meanwhile rounds out the overall top 10 and secures GT3-PRO/AM victory.
Saudi Arabia’s amazing first female racing motorsport star Reema Juffali is extremly motivated by her ambitions to pursue racing in GT3, with her 2nd place finish at the 24 Hours of Dubai race and targeting to compete in the iconic Le Mans race in France. Last season, Juffali made her debut in the British F3 Championship where she competed in seven of the eight rounds – 21 races in total – which included her best-ever finish of fourth position.
She added: “GT racing is something that I’m really excited about and like every race that I have taken part in, every competition will provide challenges and opportunities to learn and the International GT Open Championship will be no different. I know that I need to be at the top of my game as there’s some strong competition but I’m excited to get started.”
With her great debut of the GT3 race behind the wheel of the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3, she highly impressed with her SPS Automotive Performance skills with her team-mates Valentin Pierburg, George Kurtzand and Ian Loggie and achieved second place for the team in the GT3-AM class at the Dubai Autodrome.
Reema’s charisma and perseverance behind the wheel for around six hours in total, she proved her grit and driving skills in the endurance format competitively for the first time since racing in the single-seater British F3 Championship last year.
“The result was beyond many expectations that I had so I am really happy with how it all went,” said Reema.
“The goal was simply to finish and as this was my first GT3 and endurance race, I had set a realistic expectation. But when we saw what we were capable of during qualifying, we saw that there was the potential for a podium finish. Because of our strategy and approach, we got to finish, which is a great feat in itself but to also get second position in our class and a top 10 finish overall was an incredible feeling.”
She added: “The biggest thing for me is to go into GT3 racing, that’s the plan and finding the right team and environment to become the best that I can and gain the best experience. Hopefully in the next two years I can compete in Le Mans if it all goes well.”
Juffali now targets a full time seat in GT racing, which would realistically see her making more progress towards her goal of one day racing at Le Mans. “During my time in single seaters, I put myself against the best of the young rising stars to learn as quickly as possible and learn the hard way with some tough racing”, said Reema.
“I knew there would be a greater reward in the long run. For me, this race is a testament to that”.
GB and WWW.FVMGLOBAL.COM would like to thank the management of PERRIDON HOLDINGS for their kind hospitality.
Perridon Holdings Private Limited is a company that is established with the aim of holding of the famous Dutch businessmanMr Michel Perridons large and very unique ultra-luxury real estate portfolio in Dubai.
He comes from a tech background and was running trust.com for many years and has now moved over to help in start-ups, angel investment, philanthropy and real estate.
With that said, Mr Perridon is a man of many hobbies that he sees the opportunities in and pursues businesses in. He has the world’s largest private collection of Bugattis.
GB and WWW.FVMGLOBAL.COM would like to thank the management of SCUDERIA FERRARI for their kind hospitality.
GB and WWW.FVMGLOBAL.COM would like to thank the management of BMW M MOTORSPORT for their kind hospitality.
For the Hankook 24H Dubai, about 120 cargo containers with race cars and equipment docked in Dubai to kick-start the global racing season.
Dubai Autodrome, in the heart of Motorcity, has hosted the 24-hour race, organised by Creventic, since 2006 when the BMW M3 GTR driven by Philipp Peter, Dieter Quester, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Toto Wolff took the victory.
Since then the race has been run every year and has established itself as the international motorsport season opener, each edition an epic adventure as 24-hour endurance events tend to be.
THE HANKOOK 24H DUBAI PARADE IS BACK IN 2023
At the upcoming 18th edition of the biggest endurance racing event in the Middle East, the Hankook 24H DUBAI parade is making a comeback, taking all competitors from the Dubai Autodrome to the First Avenue Mall in Dubai Motor City. This will be taking place on the 11th January from 17.30-18.30!
The Hankook 24H Dubai endurance race has become a mainstay on the international motorsport calendar and is the second largest 24H race grid in the world, with entries from all over the world.
The line-up consists of up to 100 Touring and GT cars, including big name marques such as Porsche, BMW, Ford, Seat, Renault, Ferrari, Mercedes and Audi.
Don’t miss the chance to get up close to these machines during the Grid Walk at 2pm on Saturday 14th January 2023!