Dubai: The founder and lead driver of an Emirati racing team has described this month’s Hankook 24 Hours Dubai endurance race as a ‘drive to survive’ and is determined to do the UAE proud and fly the flag high.
Saif Al Ameri, 32, will be behind the wheel for Rabdan Motorsport, a team which will be represented by all Emirati drivers in the GT3 Category Cup at Dubai Autodrome on 14 and 15 January.
It will be the second successive year the team will be competing after they finished the challenging race last year. Al Ameri is relishing the opportunity of testing themselves again in an event that is expected to attract more than 80 top local, regional and international teams.
He said: “From my experience last year, the Hankook 24 Hours Dubai is going to be a drive to survive of surviving the race itself. It was one of the most challenging races that I experienced and it will be no different this year especially as there’ll be a lot of top drivers taking part. Our main target is just to finish the race which would be a big achievement.”
Having competed in Dubai Autodrome’s NGK UAE ProCar Championship, Al Ameri has gained valuable GT endurance racing experience in different events across the world, achieving class victories and podium finishes – all of which will help him during the 24-hour race.
With the event attracting elite drivers from around the world, Al Ameri says he and his team-mates will be proud to be among the UAE drivers that will be taking part in Dubai.
He said: “Everything about Rabdan Motorsport is represented by the UAE, the name, the licence and drivers, and our mission is always to do well and do the country proud every time we go on the circuit.
“Our journey hasn’t been easy especially when we were formed in the middle of the pandemic and I’d like to thank our sponsors Calethon, Ali and Sons Holdings and TALC Investment for their support. They believe in what we are trying to achieve and because of them we are here and taking part in Hankook 24 Hours. It’s an event that we thoroughly enjoyed last time and we are all eager to not only perform strongly and fly the UAE flag high but also show there are talented drivers in the UAE.”
Al Ameri believes Dubai is reinforcing its position as a leading motorsport venue in the region with each edition of the Hankook 24 Hours Dubai and hopes these events can help inspire the next generation.
He said: “One of the main factors is to educate people in the region about motorsport. We have a lot of good drivers and have the raw talent to succeed but just need guidance and support to take their first steps so they can reach their potential.”
3 UAE-based teams
The event is expected to feature more than 3 UAE-based teams, including Rabdan Motorsport, Dragon Racing and Saalocin Racing and 5 Emiratis, including Al Ameri.
Faisal Al Sahlawi, General Manager of Dubai Autodrome said: “As an Emirati, I feel extremely proud to know that there will Emiratis competing in this year’s Hankook 24 Hours Dubai – an event that has a rich history and is one of the pinnacle races in the endurance racing calendar.
“Opportunities to race in major endurance races only come once a year and it is wonderful that Saif Al Ameri, his Rabdan Motorsport team-mates and other Emirati drivers are taking on this challenging endurance race which will not only bode well for their development in the long run but also be a great learning experience.”