With just under six weeks to go before the Hankook 2021 Dubai 24 hours on 14/16 January, more than 50 entrants have booked their places on the starting grid, with most having also started shipping their cars and equipment out to the United Arab Emirates and other still potentially set to join the provisional 54 car list.
The 2021 race will be the 16th annual Dubai 24H and, as with every other international event, Creventic have been working tirelessly to develop and deliver the required logistics and health protocols to have as normal an event as possible. Face masks will be mandatory, and while social distancing will also be moderated in the paddock, teams are permitted up to 25 personnel, including up to 15 team members, up to five drivers and five VIP guests.
Almost 20 entries have already been confirmed for the GT3 category alone, with others finalising additional potential entries. One Noticeable entry that is missing is what has become a staple piece of the Dubai 24 hours, weeks ago there was a present entry from Black Falcon in one of their AMG’s but recently this has been removed from the list. This could be following the theme of the season though and morphing into a HRT entrant name as Black Falcon have done for most of the 2020 covid effected season.
Haupt Racing Team, an evolution of five-time Hankook 24H Dubai winner Black Falcon under the tutelage of three-time winner Hubert Haupt, has also confirmed two Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos for the team’s maiden 24-hour event under its new nomenclature.
Former winners of the Hankook 24H Dubai WRT and Car Collection Motorsport, which won the event outright in 2016 and 2019 respectively, the former under the ‘Belgian Audi Club Team WRT’ banner, have each entered two Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos, while Herberth Motorsport, the event’s 2017 winner, will enter three Porsche 911 GT3 Rs.
Newly-anointed GT3-AM Teams’ champion CP Racing will begin its title defence in Dubai with a loan Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, while last year’s GT3-AM class winner in Dubai, MP Motorsport, will also represent the silver arrow in the Middle East.
The UAE’s own GPX Racing, which made history this October by becoming the first team to take an official ‘Coppa Florio’ victory since 1981, and took the Spa 24 Hours win in 2019 will start at its home event with a Gulf Racing-liveried Porsche 911 GT3 R. The team will be looking to improve on last years performance, they had pace but were quickly written out of the race with an early incident in the opening laps.
Two models are also set to make their respective debuts at the Hankook 24H DUBAI in 2021: Team Zakspeed, a Formula alumni from 1985 to 1989, enters its first CREVENTIC-organised event with a Dodge SRT Viper GT3-R, while the United Kingdom’s Inception Racing with Optimum brings a McLaren 720S GT3 to the Middle East.
Two-time Hankook 24H Dubai polesitter GRT Grasser Racing Team will be among the few GT front runners running a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo in Dubai, though the five-strong GTX class (thus far) is an almost all-Raging Bull affair. ARC Bratislava, Gt 3 Poland, and Dubai’s own Dragon Racing, this year’s GTX class winner, all set to compete with the Huracán Super Trofeo. Leipert Motorsport, the Overall GT Teams’ champion in the 24H Series Continents in 2019, has also confirmed two Lamborghinis in the GTX class on its return to the series.
Almost 10 entries have already been confirmed in the 991 class. Reigning ‘Continental’ class champion DUWO Racing is sure to be among the front runners with its Porsche 911-II Cup, as is ‘European’ champion Speed Lover, which also begins its title defence in Dubai. MRS GT-Racing, a multi-time event class winner in Dubai, is also set to compete with two Porsche 911-II Cups cars in the UAE.
NKPP Racing by Bas Koeten Racing, which made history as the first ‘991’ class team to take outright victory at a 24H Series event earlier this year in Hockenheim, will make its return to the class in Dubai. Germany’s Profildoors by Huber Racing is set to make its series debut.
Significantly, newly crowned 24H Series Continents Overall GT Teams’ champion Team Avia Sorg Rennsport has confirmed it will begin its title defence in Dubai with two BMW M4 GT4s, mirroring its GT4 and TC-class entrants at the event in 2020. ST Racing has entered a BMW M4 GT4 for Dubai, and will become the first Canadian team to complete a full season in the 24H series in 2021.
Interestingly, fellow Overall GT Teams’ champion PROsport Racing, which took outright honours in the 24H Series Europe last year, has confirmed its Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 for the Hankook 24H Dubai. Comet Racing, Japan’s sole representative on the grid thus far, will compete with a Mercedes-AMG GT4.
Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing leads a near-dozen strong TCR class across in the TCE division. The Overall TCE Teams’ champion, crowned for the second year in succession, will get its title defence underway with a three-car, Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR line-up.
Last year’s TCE division winner in Dubai, AC Motorsport, has confirmed two Audi RS3 LMS’ for the first time, one of which will don a brand new team livery. BBR, a former TCR class champion in the 24H Series under the Monlau Competition banner in 2017, makes its series return with a Cupra TCR, as does Hankook 24H Barcelona TCE winner TOPCAR Sport, and Hungary’s Zengo Motorsport.
Two CWS Engineering Ginetta G55s will be joined in the TCX class by Denmark’s Sally Racing, Belgium’s PK Carsport, and Luxembourg’s fun-M Motorsport, the latter of which secured CUP1 victory at the Hankook 24H Dubai in 2018.