While there’s still 199 days until the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai, the 10th anniversary edition is shaping up to be one of the biggest in the race’s history.
A total of 83 cars have already been entered for the Jan 9-11, 2015 event, including nearly two-dozen GT3 cars. According to Ivo Breukers of Creventic, the organization behind the burgeoning endurance race, they are close to reaching a capacity entry.
“It’s becoming a good problem to have,” Breukers told Sportscar365. “We are ahead of the entries compared to last year. We have 20 entries more than we had at this time last year.
“While we’re reaching the maximum number of entries, that doesn’t mean we will stop trying to get more teams. If we reach the number, we’ll have to see how we deal with it then.”
Breukers, who along with Gerrie Williams head up the Dutch-run organization, said they are still actively pursuing additional entries, particularly teams from North America, to help bolster the event’s international presence.
“We want to be more active in approaching teams worldwide, not only in the United States but also in other countries in South America, for example,” he said. “We are talking to team managers to explain to them how easy it is to come to Dubai.
“We take care of everything [with logistics]. We can even send the container to their workshop, load everything, take care of all the documents and bring the container to Dubai. When they arrive there, they open it and we start racing.”
Breukers said the total entry fee for a U.S.-based team, including sea freighting the car and equipment from an East Coast port, is less than $15,000, and even cheaper if shared with another car or team.
While the timing of the race, being only two weeks before the Rolex 24 at Daytona, makes it nearly impossible for TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTD teams to use their same cars, Creventic is hoping to attract entries from the Pirelli World Challenge, which can run their FIA GT3-spec cars unaltered.
“We do our best to make it as best as possible for the teams,” Breukers added. “We are continuing to think how we could make life easier for teams. We see them as our friends and customers. If there’s a question, they can always come and talk to us to see if we can make improvements.
“But we’re also aware that we have smaller teams and bigger teams and the bigger teams are not more important than the smaller teams. If we don’t have the smaller teams, we wouldn’t have the race as it is now. We want to keep it fair.”
Following the success of the Dubai race, Creventic launched the 24H Series in 2008, which has seen additional endurance events at Barcelona, Hungaroring, Mugello, Zandvoort, and beginning next year, the 24 Hours of Paul Ricard.
While the races are not linked inside an official championship, Breukers said they are looking at ways to recognize teams and drivers who contest the entire six-round series.
“We are proud of our freedom and if we make a championship, we’d get a lot of involvement from the FIA,” he said. “We’re not sure if we’d be happy with that.
“Maybe we want to do something in between, perhaps some kind of ranking. We’re looking at the [factors] if we do make it an official championship. In the end, it’s a little bit of our goal to do that.”