24 Hours of Dubai to kick off the season for Audi on January 12/13
Season opener with 13 race cars from Audi Sport customer racing
Five Audi R8 LMS for GT3 and two for GT4
Six Audi RS 3 LMS in TCR category
Never before has Audi Sport customer racing’s representation in Dubai been as strong as this year. 13 of the 93 race cars in the field are sporting the four rings on their hoods. For the first time, the brand will be on the grid with all three current products in the GT3, GT4 and TCR classes.
“The 24 Hours of Dubai is an outstanding club sport event,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Amateurs share the cockpits with pros, are able to compete with them and have chances of clinching victories in class and overall.” In 2016, Belgian Audi Club Team WRT won this endurance race in the Audi R8 LMS and a year ago, Team Cadspeed Racing with Atech prevailed in the Gulf state with the Audi RS 3 LMS in the TCR class.
This year, Audi Sport customer racing will be represented in the race with its three current products for the first time. Four teams are fielding the GT3 version of the Audi R8 LMS that is in contention for overall victory. Team MS7 by WRT is relying on Vincent Mosse’s seasoned and successful Belgian race team. Also on board will be the two Audi Sport campaigners Christopher Mies and Dries Vanthoor. Optimum Motorsport in position four of the overall classification was the best Audi customer team in Dubai a year ago. This year, Audi Sport campaigner Christopher Haase, winner of the 24 Hours of Spa, is augmenting the UK squad. Car Collection Motorsport is providing Audi’s largest lineup in the GT3 class once again. The German privateer driver team from Walluf clinched third place in the A6-Am classification the last two years and won both rookie titles in the 24H Series at the end of the year. In Dubai, Peter Schmidt’s team will again compete with two privateer driver lineups and receive support by Audi Sport campaigner Frank Stippler. For Team BWT Mücke Motorsport, the event marks a premiere as the Berlin-based squad is contesting a 24-hour race for the first time in its 20-year history. Markus Winkelhock will be on board as an extremely experienced Audi Sport campaigner, having won an amazing five 24-hour races plus the 2017 Intercontinental GT Challenge with Audi.
The Audi R8 LMS version that has been prepared for GT4 racing will contest the event in Dubai in the hands of privateers for the first time. The German Phoenix Racing team from Meuspath is preparing two race cars for the GT4 class. On board will be a driver team from Hong Kong which in Marchy Lee and Adderly Fong includes the first two champions of the Audi R8 LMS Cup. The second driver combination is giving an opportunity to three drivers having been promoted from another Audi one-make cup: Joonas Lappalainen and Philip Ellis were the title winners in the Audi Sport TT Cup the last two years and Gosia Rdest was another successful participant.
Five customer teams in the TCR class are completing the brand’s lineup with a total of six Audi RS 3 LMS cars. Lap 57 Motorsports from the United Arab Emirates, the Swiss Stanco & Tanner Motorsport by Autorama Wetzikon team, the German Bonk Motorsport company from Münster, Bas Koeten Racing from the Netherlands and the Belgian AC Motorsport team are representing Audi’s colors in this class which, with 14 entrants, is well-filled. Following free practice and qualifying sessions on Thursday, January 11, the 24-hour race will be started at 3:00 PM local time on Friday, January 12. It will be the first championship round of the 24H GT Series for GT sports cars and the 24H TCE Series for touring cars.