One year ago, Ram Racing made its team debut in the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai. Fast forward twelve months and the British-based squad has returned to the Middle East, and are looking to add to the trophy case following a successful maiden season.
With three class wins out of five races, the Dan Shufflebottom-led organization took home the 2013 European Le Mans Series GTE championship, which also included the drivers’ title for Johnny Mowlem and Matt Griffin.
Mowlem and Griffin have remained with the team for 2014 and are joined by another title winner in 2013 ALMS GT champion Jan Magnussen for the 24-hour, along with Dubai-based Indian gentlemen driver Cheerag Arya.
With a lineup of champions on board for its second around-the-clock enduro, Ram could be one of the teams to beat come 2 p.m. on Saturday.
“It’s a 24-hour race and a lot can happen,” Griffin told Sportscar365. “But what Ram have done, they’ve put together the best team possible with Johnny, Jan and Cheerag as our amateur driver. I think we have a really, really strong team. Going into the race for sure, we’re going to be one of the guys with the shout of the win.”
The chrome-liveried Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 has been off to a fast start, particularly with the addition of the four-time Le Mans class winner Magnussen, who was given permission from GM to compete in this race.
“We’ve gone through a lot of setup changes in getting the car comfortable,” he explained. “I think we’re quite competitive as is. Everybody’s been struggling so bad with the traffic. It’s hard to really gauge where you are based from the lap times. But we are where we need to be.”
With the team poised to embark on the FIA World Endurance Championship this year, both Griffin and Mowlem feel the added track time, even with a GT3-spec car and the race run to different rules than the WEC, will still be useful in their preparation for the upcoming season.
“I think every race we do is good prep,” Mowlem said. “You never stop learning. The team has had a bit of a restructure over the winter, which is good for them to get used to it here. It’s about being as well prepared as you can be, approach the race and then we’ll see how it pans out. And that’s exactly how we’ve done here.
“We’ve been preparing for this for the last two months. We’ll see how it all goes, and see if we can get a bit of luck, stay out of trouble and grab a podium in the end.”