Most people would consider the Rolex 24 as the event that kicks off the endurance calendar yearly. Though the Rolex 24 is highly anticipated, if we are talking in the most literal sense, the 24h Dubai is the first race of 2018. The 24h of Dubai is the first of 8 rounds in the 24H GT Series (in which 4 of those races are 24h, the other being 12h). The 7 round TCE series also kicked off their season in this race.
For the GTE series, it was the #2 Black Falcon team that started on pole position and won the race. They became the first team to win a Dubai 24h race with their specific Mercedes-AMG GT3 model. The team of four (Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Hubert Haupt, Yelmer Buurman and Gabriele Piana) recorded 606 laps, with the second place #12 Manthey Racing getting 604 laps down. 90 cars started the race overall, with 14 of them not being able to finish the race.
In the Touring Car Endurance class, the Liqui Moly Team took the win. Starting 8th on the grid for the TCE class, they worked their way up the standings slowly but surely. They got to second place and held that spot for 15 hours. In the 16th hour, they took away first place from LMS Racing, who was before then keeping a 1 to 2 lap lead on Liqui Moly. From there on, Liqui Moly got a two lap lead on LMS when the checkered flag was waved. To demonstrate the difference in speed between GTE and TCE, the top GTE car did 604 laps, while the top TCE did 556.
A week before this race the 24H Series did their Prototype series in Dubai. The prototypes did three races, three hours long each in a format called 3X3. The Simpson Motorsport duo was able to collectively win all three races in the LMP3 class, while the Krafft Racing team won the CN1 class. The weekend saw 8 car entries.
It’s a long break until the next 24H Series race, as in March the GTE, TCE and Proto classes will be at Silverstone for a 12H and 24H race. But endurance racing is not slowing down until then, with IMSA’s Rolex 24 rolling around at the end of the month.
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