Black Falcon scored a dominant victory in the 10th anniversary Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai, with the German squad leading a Mercedes 1-2 and claiming its third overall win in the last four years in the Middle East’s premier endurance race.
The No. 2 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Yelmer Buurmann, Oliver Webb, Hubert Haupt and Saudi Abdulaziz Al Faisal cruised to a four-lap win over the No. 30 Ram Racing Mercedes, in a race that saw an unusual high attrition rate in the GT3-based A6 class.
While it was a flawless race for the No. 2 car, the team’s sister Abu Dhabi Racing-backed Mercedes, featuring stars Bernd Schneider and Jeroen Bleekemolen was just one of the favorites to hit trouble early, with co-driver Khaled Al Qubaisi crashing the gull-winged beast in the fourth hour.
The pole-sitting No. 12 Fach Auto Tech Porsche 997 GT3-R retired overnight with undertray damage after a broken radiator early, while defending race winners Stadler Motorsport dropped out after multiple issues, including right-rear suspension failure and a brief fire in the second hour.
The No. 33 SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes, which battled with the Ram Mercedes and No. 88 Dragon Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 through much of the race, crashed out just after sunrise.
After having mostly led since the end of the first hour, Buurman re-took the top spot on lap 276 from the No. 28 KPM Racing Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 of Jonny Adam, which remained in the top-three until losing five laps with a wheel hub issue.
The Black Falcon entry remained out front from there, extending its lead through the early morning hours and en route to victory.
Ram’s second-place finishing Mercedes was shared by Thomas Jaeger, Tom Onslow-Cole, Adam Christodoulou and Cheerag Arya, in what was an equally trouble-free run for the British team in its first race with the SLS.
The Dragon Racing Ferrari of Matt Griffin, Rob Barff, Mohammed Jawa and Jordan Grogor came home third overall, enough to take A6-Am class honors, while the KPR Aston of Adam, Paul White and Aston Martin factory driver Stefan Muecke was relegated to a fourth place result overall.
Remarkably, Nissan’s all-gamer GT-R NISMO GT3 of Florian Strauss, Ricardo Sanchez, Ahmed Bin Khanen, Gaetan Paletou and American Nick Hammann finished an impressive fifth overall and second in class.
It came after a trouble-free run for the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN entry, which boasted a lineup of combined race experience of 3.5 years, including four 24-hour rookies, each in their first professional race.
Black Falcon earned a double victory on Saturday with its No. 26 Porsche 991 Cup car taking class honors in 997 with a 9th place overall finish.
Other class winners included Optimum Motorsport (SP3), Racingdivas by Las Moras (CUP1), VDS Racing Adventures (A2), Memac Ogilvy Duel Racing (A3T) and MARC Cars Australia (SP2).
The race featured a record number of 13 Code 60s for numerous accidents and stranded cars on-track, which required Creventic’s unique full-course caution procedure.
RESULTS: Hankook 24H Dubai