All the eyes of BMW racing fans are looking ahead to the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the end of this month, but there’s another important 24-hour race happening this upcoming weekend (January 13th-14th) with the Hankook 24H Dubai race. It’s the opening round of the CREVENTIC 24H Series Powered by Hankook (2023 season) and draws a large contingent of top teams and drivers to the first big endurance race of the year.
For BMW racing fans, the 24H Dubai will be the debut of the new M4 GT4 in a major international race, as well as the first race in a BMW for new works drivers Valentino Rossi and Dries Vanthoor. Both Rossi and Vanthoor will be driving for the works-backed Team WRT, which has a pair of M4 GT3s entered in the top GT3 class. Rossi will drive with fellow works drivers Max Hesse and Maxime Martin along with Tim Whale and Sean Gelael in the #46 car, while Vanthoor will join works driver Jens Klingmann along with Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer, Diego Menchaca, and Mohammed Saud Fahad Al Saud in the #7 car. Vanthoor won the race in 2022 with Team WRT, driving an Audi R8 LMS.
There will also be a third M4 GT3 entered by Poulsen Motorsport in the GT3 Pro/Am class with drivers Kristian Poulsen, Roland Poulsen, Kasper Jensen, and Gustav Birch. Poulsen Motorsport will also compete in the GT4 class with the new M4 GT4, as will Century Motorsport and Simpson Motorsport. The Century team also has a previous generation M4 GT4 entered for American drivers Daren Jorgensen and Brett Strom, along with Nathan Freke, Jeroen Bleekemolen, and Danny Van Dongen.
It should be interesting to see how the new G82 generation M4 GT4 compares with the previous F82 M4 GT4 in the same race. “It was an easy decision to continue with the new car (G82) given the success we had with the current generation (F82),” said Century Team Manager Nathan Freke. “The new generation looks to be a real game changer and now we have seen it and worked on it in the flesh we are super excited to hit the track and get going with it. Its first outing will be in Dubai where we will be looking for a good result.”
You can watch the race streaming live on the 24H Series You Tube channel. The 24H Dubai is the first of eight rounds in the 24H series, which are held in the Middle East and Europe. “The Hankook 24H Dubai is one of our favorite events every season, given the heritage of our annual 24-hour race at the Dubai Autodrome and the caliber of competition the event draws in every year,” said CREVENTIC Operational Manager Paul Freij. “For the 18th edition, we’re very proud to have such a rich entry list that includes former winners and high-profile names from the wider world of motorsport.” —David Haueter
[Photos by 24H Series, Century Motorsport]