Car Collection Motorsport took Audi’s first outright GT win in Dubai since 2016, while Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing took Volkswagen’s second consecutive TCE win in the UAE. But did you know…?
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1. 2019 was the first time EVER that neither Porsche nor Mercedes finished on the outright Hankook 24H DUBAI podium…
Yes, Audi stole most of the headlines at this year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI as the brand new R8 LMS took only the fifth 1-2 outright finish at the event since the inaugural running in 2006. It was also an impressive race for Ferrari with Bohemia Energy racing with Scuderia Praha (#11) taking the final spot on the podium and, in turn, the prancing horse’s first top three finish at the event since 2015.
To give you an idea just how prolific the German brands have been on the Dubai podium, Porsche has claimed 13 podium spots since 2006, and Mercedes has taken 11 since its event debut in 2011. To put that another way, AMG has never failed to take a Dubai 24-hour podium before 2019
2. …but Mercedes did continue an A6 streak
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Mercedes-AMG in Dubai though, as the three-pointed star still holds a perfect winning record in A6-Am since the category’s introduction for 2016.
That year, erstwhile 24H SERIES champions Hofor-Racing got the ball rolling with victory in the #10 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, repeating that feat the following year. In 2018, SPS automotive performance took its first 24H SERIES class win in Dubai with the Mercedes-AMG GT3, and this year, despite being run close by the Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R, HTP Motorsport made it four from four in A6-Am with class victory in the #25 AMG GT3. The outright Hankook 24H DUBAI is still one win away, but here is a streak Mercedes-AMG will hold onto unopposed until at least 2023.
3. The first time since 2010 that one manufacturer had more than four cars in the overall top 10
To demonstrate just how strong the pace of the 2019 R8 LMS was in Dubai, five of the top 10 finishing positions were secured by teams running Audis, including Car Collection Motorsport (1st and 10th), MS7 by WRT (2nd), Attempto Racing (5th), and BWT Mücke Motorsport (6th).
That left only one place apiece for Ferrari (3rd), Lamborghini (4th) and Mercedes-AMG (7th), and two for Porsche (8th and 10th). It was also the first time in nearly a decade that one manufacturer has had more than four cars finish in the overall top 10. The nearest we got in that period was four for Audi and Mercedes-AMG in 2016 and 2012 respectively.
Weirdly, for one manufacturer to have more than four cars in the top 10 was not overly rare during the race’s first few incarnations. Indeed, at the second race in 2007, Porsche was represented in the overall top 10 by NINE different teams. Ironically, the only non-Porsche in the top 10 belonged to Duller Motorsport. The overall winner.
4. It was the narrowest winning margin in a decade
Despite the fact that Car Collection Motorsport (#88) led 560 of the 606 completed laps – the highest since Black Falcon’s 550 laps led en-route to victory in 2015 – the orange Audi’s win wasn’t quite as dominant as that statistic would suggest. At the chequered flag for instance, Rik Breukers led Dries Vanthoor in the MS7 by WRT (#7) by 2m 58.585s. That’s just under a lap and a half after 24 hours of racing.
It’s also the lowest winning margin we’ve seen at the Hankook 24H DUBAI since the Land Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup beat the Al Faisal Racing BMW Z4 M Coupé by just 49.676s back in 2009. And yes, that’s still the event record.
5. Marcus Påverud and Harald Schlotter became the second multi-winners for Leipert Motorsport in the 24H SERIES
One of the more tenured teams in the 24H SERIES, Leipert Motorsport (#710) has competed at the Hankook 24H DUBAI at all but one of the events since 2006. In that time, the German outfit has taken five different class wins in the 24H SERIES. Until Dubai this year, that meant Vadim Gitlin and Isaac Tutumlu Lopez were Leipert’s most successful drivers in the series, having taken SPX class wins at Barcelona and Brno in 2015, alongside Mikko Eskelinen, Ulrik Roland Pedersen and Marcel Leipert, and Adrian Watt respectively.
In Dubai though, following the pair’s win at Barcelona last year, Harald Schlotter and Marcus Påverud equaled the Gitlin / Lopez record by taking their second class win aboard the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo alongside Jake Rattenbury, Khaled Al Mudhaf and Frederik Schandorff.
6. Duel Racing’s 991-class win was the third for the team in five years in three different categories
It’s not been a bad old campaign for the Moutran brothers at the Hankook 24H DUBAI over the years: alongside a comfortable class win in the 991-class this year, Duel Racing has competed at its ‘home’ event every year since 2010, has taken two further class wins and two more class podium finishes.
An impressive record then for the 2015 24H SERIES champions, but did you know that the brothers are now one of the few teams to have taken victory in more than two categories in Dubai? Alongside the 991-class win for example, Duel Racing took the TCR-class win in 2016 with a SEAT Leon Cup Racer, one year after the Lebanese outfit took the A3T class win with the SEAT Leon Supercopa LR.*
Ironically, Phil Quaife, who partnered the Moutran brothers during those 2015 and 2016 class wins, can also lay claim to the same accomplishment. Though the Briton endured a torrid race with a luck-less Dragon Racing (#488) in 2019, last year, Quaife took 991-Am victory with race:pro motorsport. The team that finished 3rd? Duel Racing.
*Okay, fine, technically A3T was the precursor for TCR, but given that the latter wasn’t introduced until 2016 and featured revised technical and sporting regulations, surely we can give this a pass?
7. GT4 celebrated its seventh different winner in eight starts
You certainly couldn’t call GT4 ‘predictable’ in the 24H SERIES: in the nine races since its introduction as a stand-alone category for 2018, GT4 has only produced one repeat winner.
If you discount last year’s Hankook 12H SILVERSTONE, which featured no GT4 entrants – Fox Motorsport was entered in the SPX class – then the class has produced victories for Phoenix Racing (Dubai), QSR Racingschool (Navarra), Allied Racing (Imola), Fox Motorsport (Portimão and Spa-Francorchamps), NM Racing Team (Barcelona), and Classic BMW (COTA). MRS GT-Racing became the eighth different winner in GT4 in Dubai.
If you include the conjoined SP3-GT4 class of 2017, the record becomes even more impressive. Optimum Motorsport (Dubai), Nova Race (Mugello), Besaplast Racing (Red Bull Ring), track-club (Paul Ricard), JR Motorsport (Imola), Parkalgar Racing Team (Portimão) and Brookspeed International Motorsport (COTA) each took a SP3-GT4 class win in 2017, meaning there have been a remarkable 14 different winners from the last 15 SP3/GT4-class races.
8. TCR featured the closest top three finish for touring cars since 2014
Don’t let the fact that Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing (#112) took class victory by four laps fool you, TCR featured one of its closest podium finishes in the last five years in 2019. Behind the Autorama Volkswagen Golf GTi and the Bas Koeten Racing CUPRA TCR (#125), the Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR (#101) finished just three further laps adrift. That seven-lap deficit across the touring car podium is the closest we’ve seen in TCR to-date, compared to the 12 laps in 2018, 30 laps in 2017 and 57 laps in 2016.
You need to go further than that though to find a closer touring car finish in Dubai. The last one was in 2014, when the 1,600cc to 2,000cc A3T class saw two laps between eventual winners Racingdivas Team Schubert and 2nd placed Motorsport Services, the latter of which finished just 1.9 SECONDS ahead of 3rd-placed Prefa Racing Team Austria.
9. It was the first 24H SERIES class victory for Vortex
It’s been a troubled run for Vortex so far in the 24H SERIES: since making its first start in the 24H SERIES in Dubai in 2016, the sports car has failed to finish 13 of the 18 races for which it has been entered. Lady Luck finally gave the company a break though at this year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI, when the Vortex Scirocco GC 10 (#301) took SP3 class victory 11 laps clear of the heavily troubled CWS Engineering, on the model’s series’ debut no less.
Be fair though, this is not the first time that a Vortex has been classified on a 24H SERIES class podium. Indeed, on its very first outing in Dubai in 2016, the Vortex 1.0 finished 2nd in SP2, following that up with 3rd in the SP-Touring class two rounds later at Silverstone. Admittedly things went slightly downhill in 2017, when 3rd in the SP2 class in Mugello was the car’s only confirmed classification across nine entries that year.
10. PB Racing has never finished off the podium in Dubai
To call PB Racing’s 24-hours in Dubai ‘character building’ would be an almost hilarious understatement: the #634 Lotus Elise Cup PB-R finished 52 laps behind A3-class winner G & R motorsport (#603) after a full engine change, while the sister #633 Lotus, a further 121 laps behind, finally gave up the ghost with gearbox failure.
Still, despite the team’s issues, PB Racing nevertheless walked away with 2nd and 3rd in-class at this year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI, matching the 3rd in A3 the team scored in 2017. The team’s only other outing in Dubai, in 2009, ended, impressively with victory on its event debut with a Lotus Exige GT4. Should the Italian outfit return to Dubai for 2020, it will be with a 100 per cent podium finishing record.
11. German teams now have the most CUP1 class wins in the category’s history
Fun fact, fun-M Motorsport (#802) became the fourth different team to win the CUP1 class at the Hankook 24H DUBAI in the four races run since the category was introduced to the 24H SERIES for 2015. In doing so, the German outfit also took the nation’s win tally up to eight in-class, more than any other.
Germany got off to a good start in 2015, with Bonk Motorsport winning three of the six CUP1 class races of that 24H SERIES season at Mugello, Zandvoort and Brno, Securtal Sorg Rennsport adding another for the nation at Paul Ricard. Sorg Rennsport and Bonk Motorsport would add two more to the tally during the 2017 24H GT SERIES at Dubai and Mugello respectively, the latter repeating its class win at the event from 2016. Throw in fun-M Motorsport’s win this year in Dubai, and that brings Germany’s CUP1 total to one ahead of JJ Motorsport, Speed Lover and QSR Racingshool’s tally for Belgium.
If you wanted to be pedantic, you could even claim theoretically that Germany has a further five CUP1 wins to its name if you count Bonk Motorsport’s affiliated victories with Hofor Racing during the Swiss team’s dominant run to last year’s 24H TCE SERIES.
*Images courtesy of 24H SERIES and Petr Frýba