After four consecutive weeks of long haul travel it’s fair to say that the DSC Editor is not in a hurry to climb aboard a plane any time soon!
Before the memories of the past month fade too far into the distance though here are just a few reflections from the four very different events that made up the odyssey.
The fact that the Dubai 24 Hours seems so very long ago just now is more a mark of the rapid fire nature of the January (and February) racing action than any reflection on the event’s quality.
There has already been a DSC Editorial on this one which you can read here but now, with the benefit of a little more hindsight, here are the points that have survived the four week melee!
The Proto Series Has A Place
The new for 2017 24H Proto Series has real potential. 12-Hour races at interesting tracks with a range of cars ranging from last generation LMP2s via the Ginetta G57s, LMP3s, CN cars and even Radicals means that a large number of otherwise idle machinery, in the hands of teams that truly do need the additional business, might find an opportunity to race commercially. And others might find the opportunity to develop a skill set that could launch them up the endurance racing ladder.
Most importantly this is no threat to the ACO’s established ‘family’ of events, realistically this serves as a potential additional programme, perhaps getting otherwise unused cars from under the dust sheets, and giving established teams more options. Looking, for instance, at the Ginetta G57 P2, much interest was shown by teams contesting the Dubai 24 Hours in the Prototype and at least one has now been sold to a team that will enter both the main 24H Series races and Proto Series.
Too Many Cars?
For the main race yes I believe there are/were – but cutting from the ‘bottom’ up is not the solution. Looking at the character of the major endurance events around the world there are plenty enough opportunities for GT3 teams to compete – possible solutions may be emerging in the coming months, and Creventic is never idle in ensuring that its events continue to attract its most regular customers. A one-off appearance by a GT3 team is far less relevant to Creventic than a full-season commitment from a team fielding a Clio or two.
The Dubai 24 Hours should not lose its uniqueness – and it’s highly doubtful that its custodians would ever permit that.
High Quality From Herberth
The race-winning performance from the Herberth Motorsport squad again underlined that this is an outfit that looks destined to break through onto the global GT racing scene, if that’s the course they choose. A near faultless run whilst others stumbled secured the overall win, and with the eye catching addition of Brendon Hartley, the factory LMP1 driver in his first GT race in a Porsche, the win caught the attention of motorsport media far beyond the press room in Dubai!
The Brokernet SilverSting: Quite A Comeback!
The unique Brokernet Silversting completed a comeback to the race (it last appeared in 2011) with another class win featuring repeat class winning appearances from the evergreen Wolfgang Kaufmann and Kalman Bodis.
One of the unique areas of appeal of the 24H Series is their continued open door to 24 Hour racing ‘Specials’ which this year included the new Vortex racers. The 2006/7 vintage Silversting though, with a heritage that included a test driver by the name of Nico Rosberg, put the newcomers in the shade and continued a story that began over a decade ago with victory!
The Dubai based race didn’t get, nor did it claim to get, tens of thousands of spectators. What it did see in 2017 though was a much increased level of attendance from locally based fans, with not a few locally based drivers too. The racing scene in the UAE is beginning to take off and the 24H Series race organisers should take due credit for its part in that.
Watch this space for a potential expansion of its interests in the region!