Dubai Thursday Notebook

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***The record 95-car grid for this weekend’s Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai has seen overcrowding in pit lane, with multiple red flags during today’s Free Practice sessions resulting in a massive queue at pit-in. Less than 90 cars are expected to take the start on Friday, due to a number of accidents today.

***The No. 4 Scuderia Praha Ferrari F458 Italia, which suffered a heavy crash in Free Practice 1 in the hands of Jiri Pisarik, is being repaired on-site and is expected to take the start tomorrow. Matteo Malucelli and Peter Kox are among the driving force in the Czech-entered Prancing Horse, which claimed victory in September’s 24H Barcelona.

***The top A6 class will again be split into Pro and Am categories, with the final categorizations to be released during tonight’s team manager’s briefing. Nominated Am class cars will have to respect a 2:04 per lap maximum, with ten “joker” laps being allowed for cars going under the mandated lap time.

***Jeroen Bleekemolen is one of only four drivers expected to take part in two 24-hour races this month, with the Dutchman, Irish ace Matt Griffin along with Germans Christian Engelhart and Klaus Bachler also entered for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. All three are missing this weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24.

***Former race winners Schubert Motorsport is missing Dubai for the first time since 2010. The German squad was initially entered but was among the handful of withdrawals in recent months. Augusto Farfus, Edwards Sandström, Claudia Hürtgen and American Tommy Milner took a Schubert BMW Z4 GT3 to victory in 2011.

***The No. 19 V8 Racing Corvette C6.R is oddly enough a hybrid between the two Pratt & Miller-built GT1 and GTE versions. The Dutch entry utilizes a GT1 chassis (No. 5) but with a 5.5-liter V8 engine and GTE powertrain. It qualified 5th overall in the hands of Nicky Pastorelli.

***Red Camel Racing is set to feature one of the only two-driver lineup for the race, with father-and-son Ivo and Rik Breukers listed to drive the No. 159 Audi R8 in the SP2 class. It marks 16-year-old Rik’s 24H Dubai debut, while Ivo, one of the founding members of event organizers Creventic, is one of only two drivers to have driven in every edition of the 24H Dubai to date.

***Patrick Huisman has been replaced by Andreas Weishaupt in the No. 26 Black Falcon Porsche 991 Cup car after the four-time Porsche Supercup Champion was unable to travel due to an expired passport. The Dutchman wasn’t the only driver to face travel issues, as Liam Venter (STP Racing Porsche) has also been forced out of the weekend due to a visa issue.

***Wednesday’s attack against French publication Charlie Hebdo hits home, as Georges Wolinski, one of the murdered artists, was known in the endurance racing world for having designed multiple liveries, including a Porsche 911 GT2 that competed in the 1998 Le Mans 24 Hours. Sportscar365 sends its condolences to all families affected by the tragedy in Paris.

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