24 Hours of Dubai: Samantha Tan, Nick Wittmer and the ST Racing team at the start!

Wednesday January 13, 2021 by Eliane Gilain

No less than 54 crews are registered this year for the 24 Hours of Dubai which will take place this weekend in the United Arab Emirates. The event is the opening round of the 2021 season of the 24H Series championship (organized by Creventic) and will be run on the permanent circuit of the Dubai Autodrome, a 5.39 km track with 16 turns. GT3, GT4 and Touring Car cars will be at the start, given this Friday.

Among these 54 teams, the Canadian ST Racing team is on track to finish what it started last year. On the same date in 2020, female pilot Samantha Tan, accompanied by Montrealer Nick Wittmer and Americans Jon Miller and John Boyd, had started the showdown, establishing herself as the leaders in her category. However, an unprecedented thunderstorm brought the 24 hour race to a premature end, with the line and track being flooded after less than the distance traveled.

Nick Wittmer, who set a track record last year aboard ST Racing’s BMW M4 GT4, is not the only Quebecer on the team as most of the mechanics come from the greater Montreal area and are managed by the director of the team, Benjamin Distaulo. As he had mentioned in his exclusive interview with Pole-Position Magazine (published in the edition currently on sale), the owner of the GT Racing team, Éric Côté, is also traveling to the Middle East, to bring its experience to ST Racing during this 24 hour event.

The team’s objective is therefore to try and win in the GT4 class, but this time with Chandler Hull replacing Boyd. Samantha Tan, a young Canadian living in the United States, is also the only female driver who takes the controls of a GT car during this 2021 edition. However, she is not the only woman on the track while the Swiss Karen Gaillard ( on Vortex 1.0 in GTX class) and Jasmin Preisig, who will play the victory in TCE class at the wheel of a Volkswagen Golf GTi DSG, will also be present.

Although half a hundred teams are registered, their cars are not all in the same class. Indeed, on the track we will be able to observe the GT3-Pro, GT3-Am, GTX, 991, GT4, TCR and TCX. It is therefore realistic to think that almost any car in each category can hope for victory.

However, it is among the 8 crews of the GT3-Pro class that it is worth targeting the candidate for victory in all categories. Black Falcon, the champion team holding the title, will be back under its new name; the Haupt Racing. Former DTM driver Hubert Haupt is at the head, in addition to driving during this event. He will be accompanied by Maro Engel, Patrick Assenheimer, Ryan Ratcliffe and Khaled Al Qubaisi at the wheel of a car that presents itself as the big efavorite, the Mercedes AMG GT3 No.4. It was this team that « won » the shortened event last year. Note that if we put this mention in quotes, it is because the officials of the 24H Series championship had decided not to include this race in the championship, due to the weather conditions having forced its premature end. It was all the same the Haupt team which was in the lead at the time of the stop.

Present in a multitude of GT3 championships and even in DTM in recent seasons, the Belgian WRT team, owned by Vincent Vosse, will also be present in the GT3-Pro class, with a mix of amateur and professional drivers from Audi. Sport, including Dries Vanthoor, Kelvin van der Linde, Louis Machiels, Benjamin Goethe and Frank Bird. They will be on an Audi LMS GT3. A few Porsche GT3s also join the Pro peloton, including those of Dinamic Motorsport and GPX Racing seen last year in GT World Challenge Europe, while Lamborghini will only be represented by one Huracan GT3. Thanks to the powerful GRT Grasser Racing Team which engages Rolf Ineichen, Adrian Amstutz, Rik Breukers and Mirko Bortolotti (the only Lamborghini factory driver present), this car can still be classified among the favorites.

The 2021 edition of the 24 Hours of Dubai will be followed live on the 24H Series website or on their YouTube page. To access it, click on this link. The start of the race will be given this Friday at 3 p.m. local time, or 6 a.m. in Quebec. To see the full list of registrants, click here.

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