The Dubai 24 Hours
The 24 Hours Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

The countdown to the Hankook 24 Hours Dubai has begun, with 120 cargo containers with race cars and equipment having docked in Dubai to kick-start the global racing season with the race that takes place between January 13-15.

Dubai Autodrome has hosted the 24-hour race since 2006 when the BMW M3 GTR driven by Philipp Peter, Dieter Quester, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Toto Wolff took the victory.

Since then the race has been run every year and has established itself as the international motorsport season opener.

Over the years the race has hosted some of the sport’s biggest names and has provided the UAE’s Khaled Al Qubaisi with a stage on which to excel. The Abu Dhabi-based driver has won it three times in 2012, 2013 and 2020. He heads a list of illustrious drivers who have triumphed at the event.

Last year, UAE-based team GPX Racing powered to victory in a Porsche 911 GT3 R with Julien Andlauer, Frederic Fatien, Alain Ferte, Mathieu Jaminet and Axcil Jefferies taking top honours.

The Dubai 24H has several classes with big lap time differences and the 2022 edition is expected to attract more than 80 teams from around the world.

Dubai’s mild winter climate is a welcome relief for teams, drivers and personnel based in colder climes. And as the first race of the season, the attraction of the event ensures an economic boom week for the city.

Flying into Dubai will be an estimated 2,000 personnel directly involved with the race, including drivers, engineers, mechanics and other service personnel required for the event. As well as a small army of organisers Creventic staff, who team up with their Autodrome counterparts, to make it all happen.

Also keen to take advantage of Dubai in January, will be families and friends of drivers and, of course, endurance racing fans who make the trip to the event as part of a vacation, or pilgrimage.

As a result, over 13,000 hotel nights are expected to be booked by the entourage that is connected to the event, with Motor City’s Park Inn fully booked ahead of and during the race week.

Local businesses enjoy a notable increase in trade with teams and drivers making use of the established facilities in Dubai.

Faisal Al Sahlawi, Dubai Autodrome General Manager, said of their flagship event: “Under the patronage of the Crown Prince of Dubai and Dubai Autodrome President, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Autodrome started to hold international motorsport events shortly after the circuit was complete in 2004. Since then the race has become a fixture on Dubai’s impressive sporting calendar. We like the fact that our event will kick start not only the global motorsport season but also the beginning of the UAE’s impressive international sports calendar.

“Apart from the sporting side, we are proud that this event has quantifiable and proven economic value for not only Motor City and surrounding areas, but also greater Dubai.

“During the course of the three days of qualifying and racing we expect around 25,000 spectators, and for them, we have many activities and paddock entertainment for fans to enjoy. However, the highlight has to be the start of the race, when the field of over 80 cars are flagged off in front of a full grandstand. A true spectacle that we at Dubai Autodrome are proud to be part of.”

The 24H Dubai free practice is on January 11 and 12, with qualifying on January 13 and the race to be flagged off on January 14 at 3pm.