A total of 99 cars have registered for the 2017 Hankook 24H Dubai, with vehicles ranging from Renault Clios and Minis right up to the big GT3s represented
The 2017 endurance season kicks off with the Hankook 24H Dubai on 12 to 14 January, and the 24-hour race in the United Arab Emirates also represents the first stop for the 24H Series powered by Hankook, which the company has supported as exclusive tyre partner and title sponsor since 2014. The 24-hour series comprises a total of seven rounds, with four 24-hour races and three 12-hour races.
Hankook Tire’s preparations for the start of the season began last November. Almost 10,000 race tyres – 7,000 slicks and 2,500 rain tyres – were loaded onto a ship and sent on their way to Dubai. The “black gold” arrived last Saturday. In order to be able to offer all the teams perfect service at all times, roughly 50 employees will be in action for the exclusive tyre partner at the Dubai Autodrome.
“Our mechanics will be working in three shifts on five assembly lines. The Hankook race engineers will be available at all times, should the teams have any issues regarding the tyres and set-up,” comments Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook motorsport director Europe. “As at all the rounds of the 24H Series powered by Hankook, we are providing one standard compound for all tyre sizes at the season-opener in Dubai. As such, we are, as much as possible, ensuring everyone in the field has the same opportunity.”
The 3.35 mile (5.39 kilometre) Dubai Autodrome is one of the most modern circuits in the world and, with its long, asphalted run-off zones, is also regarded as one of the safest racetracks. The sand plays a key role at this 24-hour spectacle. “The amount of sand on the track depends on the wind and the weather,” comments Sandbichler. “These different track conditions affect the performance of the tyre, and the drivers must adapt to this. Last year, it even rained in Dubai. This meant that the mixture of water and sand did not flow off the track at all, but remained standing on the racing surface. The Hankook rain tyre and the slick, which has obviously been used far more, have passed these tests with flying colours and have always impressed at the opening motorsport event of the year in Dubai. We have received nothing but praise from the teams.”
A total of 99 cars have registered for the 2017 Hankook 24H Dubai, with vehicles ranging from Renault Clios and Minis right up to the big GT3s represented. As in previous years, top manufacturers including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Porsche will be in action at the 24-hour highlight in the desert. “All the big names will be at the season-opener in Dubai, and the motorsport world will be watching. We want to offer the different car types and manufacturers optimal support with our wealth of experience in the field of endurance racing. In doing so, we will also showcase the performance of our premium products. The organiser Creventic is a fantastic partner, with whom we work together perfectly and are always able to develop new formats,” says Sandbichler.
Among these formats is the inaugural Hankook 3x3H Dubai for prototypes, which will begins today January as an official promotional race on the same bill as the bit 24-hour race. The event features LMP3 cars, Group CN cars and special prototypes with similarly high performance levels. A trio of three-hour races are scheduled in Dubai. “The Proto Series powered by Hankook is an outstanding addition,” adds the motorsport director. “For the first time, we will now also be able to watch prototypes at the Hankook 24H Dubai. After Dubai, the new race format will continue with 12-hour races at further four stops in Europe. The finale will take place at Spa-Francorchamps in October.”