The 2014 Dubai 24 Hours is already up to 50 confirmed entries, despite their being over half a year before the ninth edition.[Not a valid template]
Despite there still being two races left to run of the Creventic 24H Series – as well as seven more months to go – before the next scheduled race on 9-11 January, fifty teams have already confirmed their entries for the 2014 Dubai 24 Hours. That’s essentially two-thirds of the grid that competed at the eighth edition this January.
This year’s race marked a race victory on home soil (ish) for the Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon team, somewhat remarkable given the squad’s incident in free practice that saw the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 binned at the turn five tyre barriers and a question mark hanging over its participation in the race at all. Victory for the #1 car marked a second consecutive win in Dubai for both Emirati Khaled Al Qubaisi and The Falcons, only the second time a team had done the double in consecutive years.
Teammates Sean Edwards and Jeroen Bleekemolen also celebrated their second victories in Dubai (the Dutchman simultaneously becoming the most successful driver on the event courtesy of two wins and second place in 2008), while Bernd Schneider celebrated his maiden win on the event. Individual teams have yet to be confirmed though it seems likely Abu Dhabi by Black Falcon will be back for another crack at the top spot, as well as runner’s up AF Corse – the reigning Gulf 12 Hours champions – and Craft Racing AMR.
Changes for the next event so far remain scarce, with categories set to stay put for another year. The top drawer A6 class was split into Pro and Am categories for the first time in 2013, allowing the top drivers leeway to push the button even harder. This may well have caused strategy-related headaches for the boys on pitroad, but seemed a big hit with the fans.
The configuration of the remaining categories are also set to remain intact. The always popular 997 GT3 Cup category will return, with GT3 Porsches built between 2007 and 2013 – which includes the new 991 iteration, likely to make its debut in the 2013/2014 Porsche GT3 Challenge Cup Middle East series – eligible for the competition.
Like the top three, and fellow Middle East favourites The Saudi Falcons, it is unclear whether the class winners – Equipe Verschuur in SP2, Cor Euser Racing in SP3, JR Motorsport in A5, Racing Divas Team Schubert in S3T, LAP57 Racing in A2, Kuepper Racing in A4, SVDP Racing in D1, and Crucible Sport in 997 – will return for 2014, though chances are high the local boys will be keen to repeat their results on home soil.
We’re also pretty confident crankandpiston will be making a return to its home event too.