Connect with us

24H Series

Grove Has “Clear Belief” of Victory in 24H Dubai

Australian squad aims to battle for top honors during second outing at the Dubai 24H…

Photo: 24H Series

Grove Racing’s Stephen Grove says his team is contesting the Hankook 24H Dubai with a “clear goal” of securing overall victory.

The Australian squad is running the Middle Eastern enduro for the second consecutive year, coming off a sixth place overall in 2022.

For its second outing, the team has seen its ranks bolstered by the addition of Earl Bamber, whose Earl Bamber Motorsport team is operating the effort.

The New Zealander makes his event debut aboard the No. 10 Porsche 911 GT3 R teaming with the father-and-son pairing of Stephen and Brenton Grove and Repco Supercars Championship driver Anton De Pasquale.

The elder Grove told Sportscar365 the team is solely focused on a bid for overall victory after an exploratory outing the year prior.

“Last year was always about trying to get into the top five, maybe get a podium,” Grove said. “This year we’ve come here with a clear goal and a clear belief that we can win outright.

“That’s our plan and we’re going to keep working on that plan for the whole 24 hours and see where we end up.”

Grove praised Bamber’s speed at the Dubai Autodrome, expressing admiration at how quickly the Cadillac factory driver got up to speed at an unfamiliar circuit.

“His level is amazing,” he said. “He’s two or three laps in during the first time’s ever driven here and he’s on the money.

“That’s just the expertise. They have a quick look at some video and then they get in and drive.

“He’s got a big schedule, he’s got to head back to do Daytona with Cadillac [after this]. He just adapts straight away.”

Additionally, Grove attributed his own improvements to Bamber, who has taken an active role in coaching the Bronze-rated driver.

“We can overlay his data on top of my data and then it’s glaring where you are and you talk to him about those things,” Grove explained.

“We always try to have a rule of having two or three things maximum to improve next session and the progression has been great.

“I think this year I’m two seconds faster than I was the same time last year. He’s one of the best. I’ve worked and raced with him a lot.

“We’ve done a couple 12-hour races together in Cup cars back in the day.

“The team’s strong with good leadership. We bring some of the Supercars knowledge over in racing, trying to make sure we tick the boxes.

“I think we’re in a pretty good spot, the team jells and we’ll drive together for the rest of the year.”

According to Grove, the main threat to the team’s quest for victory will come from Mercedes-AMG. The German manufacturer locked out the front row in qualifying with a pair of cars from Haupt Racing Team.

“They were super quick,” observed Grove. “They’re strong cars, too. They seem to have good reliability.

“I think with less cars this year, there’s going to be less Code 60s.

“I think it’s going to be a sprint from the minute we start so we’ve just got to make sure we tick all the boxes.

“With the [separate] refueling, the guys change tires in ten to twelve seconds.

“Trying to do a driver change that quick is pretty tough, so it comes down to all those little things you’ve got to get right. If we get all that right, we have a good shot.”

Despite the event’s unique challenges, the 55-year-old remains confident about the team’s odds.

“Even with Brenton coming through, he was really quick Friday,” he added. “Anton probably didn’t quite maximize qualifying where we needed to be and Earl’s Earl. He does his thing.

“It’s a pretty strong team, but you know how it’s like. It’s 24 hours, it’s a long race, we’ve just got to make sure we get all the little things right.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

Click to comment

More in 24H Series