The provisional date for the sixth running of the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi has been confirmed for Dec. 16, 2016, one week later than its traditional date.
Event organizer Andrea Ficarelli, of Driving Force Events Ltd., told Sportscar365 the change was largely made due to give more space between the Formula One race at Yas Marina Circuit, which occurs on Nov. 27.
The change, however, also prevents a direct conflict with the Sepang 12 Hours, with SRO having already confirmed that the final round of the new Intercontinental GT Challenge will take place on Dec. 9-11.
Ficarelli also revealed a new incentive to help grow the Gulf 12 Hours grid, in awarding 20 free entries to next year’s race, with the goal of attracting additional GT4, Cup class and potentially high-end touring cars.
This year’s race saw a 19-car starting grid, down from the 24-car entry in 2014. Ficarelli said the ideal number would be 30 cars.
“Clearly we should have had more cars in our race,” he said. “But I really believe it’s just one year like this. It’s not a crisis or issue in the market.
“It’s very simple in that the cars that wanted to come were simply not available in Europe, doing something else due to important logistics things.”
Details of the new entry incentive, along with official confirmation of the 2016 date, are expected to come next month.