The Dubai Autodrome will host more than 48 cars and former Formula 1 drivers for this year’s legendary Le Mans endurance race in the Asian Le Mans Series opener on 11-12 February.
The four-round Asian Le Mans Series, organized by the Automobile Club of the West (ACO), which oversees the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, will give teams the chance to compete in this year’s flagship Le Mans endurance race in June.
Leading drivers who will take part in the first and second rounds at the Dubai Autodrome on Saturday and Sunday include Britain’s former Formula 1 driver Paul Di Resta. The 36-year-old, who has competed in top-level motorsport for Force India and Williams before turning to endurance racing with great success, will once again compete in Dubai in the LMP2 class for United Autosports.
The grid will also include former Formula 1 test driver and reserve driver Raffaele Marciello. The Swiss-born Italian, a product of Ferrari’s Driver Academy, is aiming to build on his Spa 24 Hours victory – his first major enduro win at GetSpeed Performance .
Austrian driver Klaus Bachler, who raced three Le Mans races with UAE’s Khaled Al Qubaisi from 2014-17, will also be at Herberth Motorsport, while Nicky Catsburg, who finished second in the GTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2021, will Behind Walkenhorst Motorsport wheels.
The event also attracts Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair, who will drive HRT’s Al Manar Racing as the only Arab driver on the track, aiming to make the region proud. Al Manar Racing entered the series with a strong performance at the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai, taking pole position before being forced to retire due to technical problems.
This is the third time the Dubai Autodrome has hosted the series’ two four-hour races, which continue next weekend in Abu Dhabi. The event provides a platform for teams and drivers in the Asian region to compete with the best international drivers, participate in high-level competitions, and gain important experience to progress in their careers. Dubai has become a winter motorsports destination, offering experienced drivers looking to compete against the series’ European rivals, valuable seat time.
The weekend will also feature the highly competitive Formula Middle East Championship and the F4 UAE Championship.
Tickets to the race are free, and off the track, there will be a variety of kids’ activities, entertainment and food trucks, grandstands and the Apex Gardens available to spectators on both days.
Faisal Al Sahlawi, General Manager of Dubai Autodrome, said: “The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the most famous endurance race in the world, with a rich history and background, and we are proud that the road to this event begins once again at the Dubai Autodrome.
“The fact that this year’s series has attracted some of the leading GT drivers from around the world, including former Formula 1 drivers, is a testament to the high ratings of the Asian Le Mans Series and the UAE and Dubai’s ability to host world level of international motorsports.
“As tickets are free, it’s another great opportunity for Emiratis to watch high-quality racing and I hope to see a lot of people at the Dubai Autodrome, it will be a great weekend.”
The first round of the Dubai 4 Hours will be held on Saturday, while the second round will be held on Sunday, with both races starting at 3:00pm. – trade arab news agency