The fifth edition of the Gulf 12 Hours at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi could see the introduction of LMP3 cars and a Renault R.S. 01 class, Gulf 12 Hours promoter Andrea Ficarelli of Driving Force Events Ltd. confirmed to Sportscar365.
While GT3 will remain the top category in the event, the organizers will allow the new Renault RS01 and Ginetta LMP3 to race in Abu Dhabi.
Ficarelli confirmed that an agreement in principle with Renault to have at least four RS01 cars in the event has been reached, while five or six Ginetta LMP3 cars are also expected to take part in December.
“We will allow LMP3 cars to take part and have had interest from teams running Ginetta cars. We have also asked for cooperation from the ACO,” said Ficarelli.
“The LMP3 cars will be utilize a Balance of Performance to keep them behind the GT3 cars and to prevent them from fighting for the overall victory.
The new Renault R.S. 01 will also be balanced and will run a special kit to ensure they will not be above GT3 levels. Ficarelli confirmed the kit is under development now, in cooperation with the French motorsport federation. For the Renault R.S. 01 it will be an experimental race.
Even though entry forms for the 2015 Gulf 12 Hours will only be sent out today, Ficarelli confirmed a number of teams have already expressed their interest to compete in the event. Ficarelli believes a 30-plus entry is possible for this year’s event, mainly GT3 cars.
“GT3 is our core market,” he said. “We have 12 Ferrari entries confirmed by AF Corse, Kessel Racing and local team Dragon Racing.
“There is also interest from Lamborghini teams that are willing to come, but the cars are not available due to the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo World Final.”
Ficarelli said he’s still in discussions with Lamborghini to make it possible for teams to enter.
The Porsche Cup class is set to remain, while the GTX category for GT4-spec machinery is likely to return after a one-year absence.
“The GTX class will be open to the Maserati Super Trofeo, some of which will be converted to GT4 specification as it is their final year,” Ficarelli said.
Last year there were three support series during the event, this year the Maserati Trofeo World Series will be the only support series in the UAE. “We will have just one support event this year, last year was too much, it was a mistake,” he said.
The revised date for the 2015 edition of the Sepang 12 Hours (Dec. 11-13) is unlikely to have a big impact on the event, which is now starting to get a name in the region.
“We have lost the two Bentleys and maybe some Asian teams, but it will not have a negative impact on our race,” Ficarelli said.
“We may not grow as much as it would be without Sepang. However, we still have a better platform. We have better facilities, better weather and the UAE market is better for manufacturers.”
Ficarelli also confirmed that the Istanbul 12 Hours, which was set to take place on Oct. 18, will not happen.
“We learned a lot, step by step, but the plans were never final,” he said. “It became more and more expensive and it was getting too late, so we have decided to cancel it for 2015.
“We will try again next year and will benefit from what we have learned this year.”