Thursday, January 12, 2017

2017 Dubai 24 Hour Preview: Part II (Everybody Else)

Part one of the 2017 Dubai 24 Hour Preview featured the top class in the race, the A6 class, and part two will look at selected entries across the other eight classes that will be on the grid.

In the SPX class, four entries to keep an eye on are the #10 Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo, the #19 Eurotrac (by Bas Koeten) Dodge Viper, the #24 GPC Motorsport Vortex 1.0 and the #401 Schubert Motorsport BMW. Oliver Webb won overall in 2015 with Black Falcon and he will led the #10 Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini effort with Jake Rattenbury, Jean-Charles Perrin and Harald Schlotter. Alexandre Colgny, Gino Forgone, Iradj Alexander and Tom Dyer won at the 24H Barcelona last September in the A6-Am class and will be driving the #24 Vortex 1.0. Eurotrac (by Bas Koesten) features an all-Dutch line-up as Daniel de Jong, Ivo Breuker, Bert de Heus and Leon Rijnbeek will drive the #19 Dodge Viper. BMW debuts its M4 GT4 this weekend with the #401 Schubert Motorsport BMW of Jens Klingmann, Jörg Müller and Ricky Collard. Klingmann raced last year with Turner Motorsports in the IMSA GT Daytona class while Müller contested in Super GT's GT300 class with Team Studie. Collard finished second in the 2016 BRDC Formula 3 Championship.

There are four entries in the 991 class to keep an eye on. Along with its two Mercedes in the A6 class, Black Falcon has entered two Porsches in this class. Anders Fjordbach and Saud Al Faisal won the 997 class in the 2015 race and they will lead the #68 Black Falcon Porsche with Saeed Al Mouri and Alexander Toril rounding out the line-up. Burkard Kaiser, Sören Spreng, Miguel Toril and Bandar Alesayi will drive the #69 Black Falcon Porsche.

Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub, Joe Foster and Andy Pilgrim are all notable names in American sports car racing and the four drivers split the #85 PROsport Performance Porsche. Putman, Espenlaub and Foster won the 991 class at the 12H Mugello last year.

Memac Oglivy Duel Racing won the TCR class last year at Dubai and the team steps up to the 991 class with the #95 Porsche with last year's winning combination of Phil Quaife, Ramzi Moutran, Nail Moutran and Sami Moutran all returning.

In the SP2 class, the #247 Reiter Engineering KTM features a driver line-up that is very familiar for Pirelli World Challenge fans. Antony Mantella, Dore Chaponick, Jr, Brett Sandberg and Benjamin Mazatia share the KTM. Sandberg is coming off winning the PWC GTS championship in an ANSA Motorsports KTM after three victories. Mantella had one victory last year in GTS while Chaponick, Jr. had six top ten finishes in ten starts.

Next to A6, the largest class is the SP3-GT4 class, which features 18 entries. Jann Mardenborough leads the #123 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan effort with fellow Nissan GT Academy drivers Ricardo Sanchez, Romain Sarazin and Johnny Guindi rounding out the line-up. Manthey Racing has entered a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport with Heinz Schmersal, Friedhelm Mihm, Markus von Oeynhausen, Wolfgang Kemper and Sebastian Kemper as the drivers in the #242 Porsche. Reiter Engineering has a KTM X-BOW GT4 entered in this class with an all-female driver line-up. Caitlin Wood, Anna Rathe, Naomi Schiff and Marylin Niederhauser are entered in the #246 KTM.

NASCAR driver and 2015 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America amateur champion Brandon Gdovic will drive the #178 CWS Ginetta with Colin White, Tom Hibbert and Mike Simpson. The #249 Newbridge Motorsport - OCC Lasik Racing Porsche has an all-American driver line-up with Derek Welch, Jeffrey Stammer and Mathew Keegan. The #250 Rotek Racing Porsche has two American drivers, James Maguire and John Schauerman as well as American sports car racing regulars Nico Rondet and Ian James as well as Argentine Roy Block.

Two TCR entries to keep an eye on are the #100 Team Bleekemolen SEAT and #216 Modena Motorsports SEAT. Michael Bleekemolen returns with his son Sebastian and fellow Dutch drivers Dennis de Borst and Aart-Jan Ringelberg. Rebellion Racing's Mathias Beche joins the #216 SEAT line-up with Canadians Wayne and John Shen and Dutchman Francis Tjia.

Team Altran Peugeot won five of seven times in the A3 class last year in the 24H Series including at Dubai and the team has entered two Peugeot 208 GTis. Thierry Blaise, Guillaume Roman and Kim Holmgaard look for their second consecutive Dubai class victory with Michael Carlsen joining them in the #308 Peugeot. Yusif Bassil, Thierry Boyer, Gonzalo Martin de Andres and Loïc Dupont will drive the #908 Peugeot.

In the CUP1 class, the Belgian #154 QSR BMW returns defending its class victory with Jimmy de Breaker and Mario Timmers returning alongside new co-drivers Rodrigue Gillion and Kevin Kenis making it an all-Belgian driver line-up.

Team Clio Cup France presents the top three from the 2016 Renault Clio Cup France championship with Eric Tremoulet, Jimmy Clairet and Teddy Clairet as well as Jeremy Sarhy and Pascal Arellano in the #165 Renault Clio Cup IV. There are two other Renault Clio Cup IVs entered in the A2 class, the #112 Stanco&Tanner Motorsport Renault for Stefan Tanner, Luigi Stanco, Ralf Henggeler, Andy Mollison and Nicklas Oscarsson and the #172 Team Cooksport Renault for Alex Sedgwick, Shane Deegan, Oliver Cook, Jonathan Maybin and Josh Cook.

The 2017 Dubai 24 Hours will start at 5:00 a.m. ET on Friday January 13th.