A round number: Hankook and the 24H Series kick off their tenth season together in Dubai
■ Hankook has been tire partner and title sponsor of the endurance series since 2014
■ Roughly 200 drivers line up at the season-opener in Dubai
■ Motorcycle ace Valentino Rossi set for his 24H Series debut at the desert classic
Neu-Isenburg, Germany, January 11, 2023 – Global leading tire company Hankook has cause to celebrate this weekend (January 13 to 15) at the 24H Dubai. The endurance classic in the United Arab Emirates traditionally forms the opening round of the 24H Series powered by Hankook, which the premium tire maker is supporting for the tenth time as title sponsor and exclusive tire partner. The calendar in Hankook’s tenth season features eight events in six countries. As they have done in the past, the drivers and teams can rely on the high quality of Hankook’s Ventus Race tire, as well as the know-how and support of the engineers and mechanics on site.
A look in the rear-view mirror
The successful partnership between Hankook and organizer Creventic began in April 2014. The cooperation came about at short notice, and the first race together took place at the end of May in Zandvoort. “We already had experience of endurance racing. However, a race of this magnitude was a real baptism of fire. Our team did an outstanding job and mastered the challenge. That was the start of the long and constructive cooperation with organizer Creventic,” recalls Hankook Motorsport Director Europe, Manfred Sandbichler.
The premiere as title sponsor and exclusive tire partner at the Hankook 24H Dubai followed one year later. The debut required a great logistical effort. As early as the start of December, 17 containers with roughly 5500 slicks and 2000 wet tires were transported by ship to the Persian Gulf. More than 50 mechanics and engineers were in action for the premium tire maker at Dubai Autodrome. Manfred Sandbichler: “The fitters worked in three shifts on five assembly lines, as the workload was huge in the high temperatures. Despite this, we soon switched off the air conditioning system installed, as it transformed the assembly tent into a refrigerator.”
At home in the desert
Nowadays, the 5.39-kilometer racetrack in the United Arab Emirates, with its 16 corners, is like a second home for the tire maker. At the ninth staging of the Hankook 24H Dubai, from January 13 to 15, more than 50 cars with roughly 200 drivers will line up at the start. Renowned manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Porsche and VW will battle it out for victories, positions and championship points in the GT and TCE classes. The most glamorous driver is motorcycle legend Valentino Rossi. The nine-time world champion is set to make his debut in the 24H Series powered by Hankook in Dubai, where he will be at the wheel of a BMW M4 GT3 for Team WRT.
“The 24-hour race in Dubai has developed into a classic and one of the top events in international motorsport. The teams can test their material under tough competitive conditions at the start of the year and gain valuable information for the rest of the season. For this reason, the starting fields are always particularly big in Dubai, which makes for a lot of traffic and fierce battles on the track. We have always enjoyed top-class motorsport here with Creventic in the past, and have only been thwarted once by torrential rain, which caused the race to be suspended. We are looking forward to a spectacular season-opener in Dubai and an exciting 24H Series in 2023. As we have been in recent years, Hankook will be a reliable partner for the drivers, teams and organizer Creventic, with its Ventus Race tire and expert service on site,” promises Hankook Motorsport Director Europe, Manfred Sandbichler.
The desert marathon in Dubai is also the second of three events that form the newly launched Middle East Trophy powered by Hankook 2022/2023, which is held within the 24H Series. This began in December 2022 with the Hankook 12H Kuwait and ends on January 21 and 22, 2023 with the Hankook 6H Abu Dhabi. The winners of the GT and TCE classes will be honored here at Yas Marina Circuit. This is followed by the five races that make up the European Series, in Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Spain.
Schedule for the Hankook 24H Dubai (local time)
Friday, January 13
|09:20 – 11:20||Free practice|
|14:00 – 14:35||Qualifying||Classes TC, TCX, TCR & GT4|
|14:45 – 15:20||Qualifying||Classes GT3, GTX, 992|
|18:00 – 19:00||Night Practice|
|19:10 – 19: 45||Night Qualifying||Classes TC, TCX, TCR & GT4|
|19:55 – 20:30||Night Qualifying||Classes GT3, GTX, 992|
Saturday, January 14
|15:00||Start Hankook 24H Dubai 2023|
Saturday, January 15
|15:00||Finish Hankook 24H Dubai 2023|
*Photos: Petr Fryba / 24H SERIES