1. The shortest Hankook 24H DUBAI ever saw THREE other records broken and a third one equalled.
Let’s get this statistic out of the way nice and early, because it will surprise none of you: the 15th edition of the Hankook 24H DUBAI is the shortest on record, owing to the quite biblical amounts of rain that meant the race was unable to be restarted.
Before the torrents arrived in force, the green flag was waved at 15.00 hrs on Friday 10 January, while the red was waved at 22.17 hrs that evening. In that intervening seven hours, Black Falcon (#4) completed just over 905km and only 168 laps, exactly one third, bizarrely, of the 504 laps completed by the VIP Pet Foods Porsche 997 GT3-RSR in 2008, the previous shortest Hankook 24H DUBAI.
Still, even despite that, there was plenty to be positive about during the podium celebrations on Saturday 11 January:
Khaled Al Qubaisi, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Hubert Haupt became the first three-time winners of the Hankook 24H DUBAI, breaking them out of an eight-way deadlock with two-time winners Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Yelmer Buurman, Phillipp Peter, Dieter Quester, and the late Sean Edwards.
In doing so, Khaled Al Qubaisi and Jeroen Bleekemolen set a new event record for the longest time between wins, their ’13 and ’20 victories coming seven years apart.
The win was the fifth in Dubai for Black Falcon – ’12 and ’13 with Abu Dhabi Racing, ’15 and ’18 – and further extends its event record over two-time winner Duller Motorsport (’06 and ’07)
And finally, as of 2020, Porsche can no longer claim to be the single most successful GT manufacturer at the Hankook 24H DUBAI, Mercedes-AMG having drawn level with its fifth win.
Who says the rain would be the only talking point?
2. 2020 marks only the second time that two teams have finished on the podium in successive 24H DUBAI events
Incredible as this might seem, and as a tip of the hat to the competitiveness of the event, this year’s Hankook 24H DUBAI marked only the second time in 15 races that two teams finished on the overall podium in consecutive years.
Last year, Car Collection Motorsport (#88) took its first event win, the Audi R8 LMS finishing just ahead of MS7 by WRT (#7). In 2020, Car Collection Motorsport once again finished ahead of the Saudi-entered Audi, albeit in 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
Strangely, you don’t need to go too far back in the history books to find the last time this happened. In 2018, Black Falcon took its fourth win at the event having finished 3rd in Dubai the year before. In 2nd place was fellow German squad Manthey Racing, which also finished as runner-up in 2017.
3. Mercedes remains undefeated in GT3-AM in Dubai
With the silver arrows now just one win shy of the overall record at the Hankook 24H DUBAI, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Mercedes-AMG also holds the most wins in the GT3-AM class in Dubai too.
Hofor-Racing got the ball rolling when the sub-category (then called ‘A6-Am’) was introduced in 2016, the future Overall GT Teams’ champion repeating the feat one year later. In 2018, SPS automotive performance took the first of two wins that season in Dubai, and in 2019, HTP Motorsport secured its first ever class win in the 24H SERIES. All four secured their wins with the Mercedes-AMG GT3, MP Motorsport completing the set in 2020.
And yes, well spotted, that does mean – surprise surprise – German teams are now the most successful in Dubai in GT3-AM as well.
If you’re curious to know just how well Mercedes-AMG has performed in Dubai in GT3-AM over the years, the AMG GT3 has taken eight class podiums compared with three for Audi, two for Porsche, and one apiece for Renault and Chevrolet. We can probably guess where you’ll be putting your money next year…
4. Dragon Racing took its first 24H SERIES class win in five years at the Hankook 24H DUBAI.
Since its event debut in 2013, Dubai-based Dragon Racing (#788) has been a regular – and popular – addition to its home 24-hour race, and after an extended stretch of bad luck, badly needed a good result in 2020.
Following a two-year hiatus in 2017 and 2018, Dragon Racing’s new Mercedes-AMG GT4 suffered drivetrain issues while battling for the lead in GT4 in 2019. Poor fortune followed the team’s two-car line-up in 2016 as well, the A6-Pro-entered Ferrari unable to do better than 10th in-class while its sister 458 Italia GT3 retired from A6-Am altogether. Even on its debut in 2013, technical gremlins meant the Emirati team’s Ferrari was classified 328 laps behind that year’s A6-Am class winner.
Fortunes turned though in 2020, when Jim and Glynn Geddie, Adam Balon and Phil Keen piloted Dragon Racing’s brand new Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo to the GPX class win, a victory that – finally – emulated the back-to-back A6-Am wins the team’s then-Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 scored in 2014 and 2015.
By the way, additional fun fact, Dragon Racing’s win marked the third time in four years that a Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo has taken victory in ‘GTX’ / ‘SPX’ in Dubai. Before Dragon Racing, Leipert Motorsport and GDL Racing Middle East took the Raging Bull to the class win in 2019 and 2016 respectively. The only exception is Tsunami R.T., which took the first win for the second generation 991 GT3 R – entered as the ‘Porsche 991 Cup MR II’ – in 2018.
5. For the second year in a row, the KCMG Honda Civic Type-R set the fastest lap in TCR
Luck rarely seems to be on the side of Hong Kong-based KCMG. Last year, having firmly established itself in podium-claiming contention, the Honda Civic Type-R suffered an oil-line failure, and retired from the race in dramatic fashion when the rear bumper ignited on-track. Gearbox-related issues meant that even the Hong Kong team’s A6-Pro contenders didn’t make the distance either…
This year, having qualified on the fringes of the TCE top five for the second year in a row, KCMG once again suffered early setbacks with a suspected water hose issue, relegating the Honda to last place before the first hour had even ticked by. Having been classified 8th in 2019, KCMG ended a rain-interrupted race in 10th.
It does make you wonder what might have been had the team’s fortunes gone the other way. In 2019 for example, Cheuk Wai Yan set a fastest lap of 2m 11.813s, almost a full second quicker than eventual winner Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing managed. This year, the Honda Civic Type-R posted TCR’s fastest lap once again, Andy Yan’s 2m 11.523s proving almost TWO seconds faster than eventual winner AC Motorsport.
They say third time’s the charm. KCMG will no doubt be hoping that’s the case in 2021.
*Check out the full list on 24hseries.com/news