New teams at the Dunlop 24h DUBAIThere is much new at the Dunlop 24h DUBAI this year in terms of drivers, cars, and teams. However, the exact definition of “new” can be tricky. As with most things in racing, what we see here is an evolution of the past. Although we already discussed some new drivers, clearly no driver would make a tough race like the Dubai 24 as their debut professional event. So it is with the teams and cars.
Motorsport Services of New Zealand is a very accomplished team in the antipodes, regularly entering mutliple cars at endurance events Down Under. They have surfaced here in the Middle East with the all-Kiwi crewed No. 66 Seat. The No. 41 Porsche of Crubile Sport is new to the race, although lead driver Soheil Ayari has raced at Le Mans many times. The No. 46 Porsche is under the steardship of Oliver Bliss, new as an entrant, although most of the crew are veterans with several other German teams.
Optimum Motorsport is a team very familiar to British GT fans, with their Ginetta new to followers of the 24 Hour Series. Perfection Racing is a newly created Danish team running the No. 151 Aston Martin. One of the “freshest” groups on the endurance scene is the Austrian team, Prefa Ring. Their No. 112 Golf is the only Volkswagen in the field. The No. 15 Aston Martin is entered under a name not seen here before, Craft Racing. However, the crack Hong Kong based squad is filled with highly accomplished drivers and crew, including Chinese-Canadian champion Darryl O’Young and two Europeans, Darren Turner of the UK and Stefan Mücke of Germany.
Thierry Perrier is long known to endurance racing followers as the brains behind the successful French based team during the 1990s and 2000s, Perspective Racing. He has now helped form a new group, Visiom, running the No. 18 Ferrari—the only GT2 spec car in the race. Preci Spark has been active in the Blancpain Racing Series, but their very fast Mercedes is new at Dubai. It is being driven by five members of the Welsh racing Jones family—twins Godfrey and David, with sons / nephews / cousins, Morgan, Philip, and Gareth. Dutch team Manor MP is a new construction for the 24 Hour series as is their Dodge Viper, although the drivers and crew are veterans with diverse backgrounds.
Dragon Speed is an American based team that has expanded its reach to Dubai with an Audi R8 while the unrelated local Emirati group, Dragon Racing, has a newly acquired Ferrari 458. Again, both teams are new in their present incarnation, but are populated by well-known names behind the wheel and under the bonnet. There is a representative of big American V8 iron here in the form of the No. 133 Corvette. It is an ex-factory Pratt & Miller built car, now run by the Netherlands consortium of V8 Racing.
Perhaps the most exciting new car here comes one of the teams that have appeared in more Dunlop 24h DUBAI and other rounds of the 24 Hour Series than nearly anyone. The team is the Belgian based VDS equipe of Raphael van der Straaten. He has a new creation that came from a ground-up design. The eponymous VDS is a very sleek GT Supercar with a Maserati V8 aboard. It replaces their popular and successful Ford Mustang.
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