24H TCE SERIES: Preview Hankook 24H DUBAI

With an entry of over 90 cars, the 13th running of the Hankook 24H DUBAI again looks promising. The event at Dubai Autodrome is the season opener of the Championship of the Continents in both the 24H GT SERIES and the 24H TCE SERIES powered by Hankook.

With touring cars from the TCR, SP3, CUP1 and A2 classes accounting for about one third of the field and the rest of the grid filled with A6, GT4, 991, SPX and SP2 class machinery, there is a good balance between GTs and touring cars.

Over the years, the race in Dubai has become one of the classic endurance races for GT3 cars and this year’s event will be no exception. The A6 Pro class has eleven entries with Mercedes-AMG GT3, Audi R8 LMS, Porsche 991 GT3 R, Renault R.S. 01 GT3 and Lamborghini Huracán GT3, plus a Ford GT Lambda as an interesting ‘dark horse’.

Several prominent drivers are on the list for the race, including local hero Khaled Al Qubaisi and Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen, both two-time overall winners of the race. Many other drivers in the A6 Pro class have works or semi-works status, including several drivers from Porsche, the most successful manufacturer in history of the Hankook 24H DUBAI with five outright wins.

With 15 entrants, the A6 Am class is set to be the largest category in Dubai. Cars in this class are Mercedes-AMG GT3, Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1, Renault R.S. 01 GT3, Audi R8 LMS, Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and Porsche 911 GT3 R. Reigning 24H SERIES GT Champions Hofor Racing will be starting the campaign for its title defence in Dubai.

The SPX class is the domain of various Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo cars as well as modified Porsche Cup cars and a car from the French Lamera Cup. The 991 class for Porsche 991 Cup cars has been split up into a Pro and an Am class, with three of Porsche’s Young Professionals and Junior drivers entered in the Pro class.

The SP2 class has one MARC Focus V8 taking on two KTM X-BOWs. Following an agreement between CREVENTIC and SRO, a separate GT4 class will be in place for the first time in 2018. In Dubai, the entry in this class includes twelve cars with Porsche, Mercedes-AMG, Ginetta, McLaren, Audi and BMW all represented by customer teams.

The TCR class is leading the touring car segment with 14 cars.

There is no lack of variety either, with the Audi RS3, Peugeot 308, SEAT Leon and Volkswagen Golf all expected on the grid in Dubai, including two teams from the United Arab Emirates. Defending 24H SERIES powered by Hankook touring car champions, Team Altran Peugeot, will be back in action as well.

The SP3 class has a variety of BMWs, Ginettas and Hondas as well as two Lamera Cup cars. The CUP1 class will have five BMW M235i Racing Cup cars on the grid while two Renault Clios and one Peugeot RCZ in the A2 class round out the field.