Despite still being eight months away, 70 entries have already been confirmed for the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai, which will retain its current GT and touring car format for 2018.
The 13th running of the twice-around-the-clock enduro is set for Jan. 11-13, again featuring a large number of GT3 entries that will be set to battle for overall honors.
ENTRY LIST: 24H Dubai (Provisional)
The provisional entry list has confirmed a number of top European teams, including Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Grasser Racing Team, Attempto Racing and Konrad Motorsport, alongside Herberth Motorsport, which plans to defend its 2017 victory with its Porsche 911 GT3 R.
While this year’s race, which saw a nearly 100-car field, sparked discussion over the crowded format, particularly with the inclusion of touring cars, series promoters have reaffirmed its commitment to the production cars for the race, with improvements to the regulations planned.
“Creventic is still committed to attracting touring cars for Dubai and the other 24H Series events and therefore is delighted to see that half of the provisional entry list currently consists of touring cars and GT4s,” said Creventic’s Gerrie Willems.
“The regulations will keep the focus on an open and sporting character for a wide variety of cars for the combination of amateurs, gentlemen drivers, semi-pro and pro drivers.
“Taking into account the valuable feedback from our teams and drivers we will carry out some significant improvements.
“For instance, we will no longer be working with minimum ‘reference’ lap times and go back to racing and we will try to create more transparency related to penalties.”
Additionally, as part of an agreement with the SRO Motorsports Group, a separate GT4 class will be introduced into all 24H Series events next year, beginning with the Dubai race.
“With new GT4 cars from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-AMG expected to be available for next year, and the large number of McLaren and Porsche GT4 cars already competing, this category is becoming more and more important,” Willems said.
“GT4 cars have proven to be perfectly suited for endurance racing, so they fit very well into the 24H Series and 24H TCE Series powered by Hankook. For the non-GT4 cars currently running in the SP3-GT4 class, we will maintain the SP3 category.”
The Dubai event will again feature prototype machinery, following the debut of the 24H Proto Series in January, with a 3×3 format.
While the format of next year’s race, set for Jan. 5-6, has yet to be announced, a total duration of 12 hours is planned.