More than two months prior to the eleventh running of the Hankook 24H DUBAI (January 14-16, 2016), the opening round of the 2016 24H SERIES powered by Hankook, the maximum grid capacity has already been reached. “All the slots have been taken,” says Gerrie Willems on behalf of Dutch agency CREVENTIC, promoters and organisers of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook in co-operation with the Dutch National Racing Team (DNRT). “The tenth running of the event in January this year was already a huge success that we believed could not be topped, but reality proved to be different. Teams that sign up from now will be put on a waiting list.” Meanwhile, preparations for the 2016 season of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook are well underway, with some changes and the introduction of new classes to enhance the competition.

Dubai 25hWell established as the original endurance race in the Gulf region, the Hankook 24H DUBAI has been enjoying increasing popularity over the years, and next year’s edition even brings it to another level. The event at Dubai Autodrome will mark the debut of the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 in a 24-hour race and will also feature the new Audi R8 LMS on the grid. Plenty of other GTs, touring cars and 24H Specials are expected, too, including the spectacular Renault R.S. 01 silhouette car, not seen in previous events of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook either. “We are really pleased and honoured with the great interest from teams from all over the world,” Gerrie Willems says. Like in previous years, Eimskip will be the logistical partner, handling transport of race cars and equipment from the teams to the United Arab Emirates and back. Moreover, French lubricant band Motul also signed up to become an official partner of the event.

Some modifications after successful inaugural season

With the Hankook 12H EPILOG BRNO earlier this month, the inaugural season of the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook came to an end. The first year of the international endurance series was a huge success with good competition. The battles for drivers and team titles in various classes and in the outright standings went down to the wire. After thorough analyses of the season, taking into account the feedback that was received from teams and drivers, CREVENTIC has decided to implement some changes for 2016 to enhance competition and to improve the class structure. Thus, special TCR and 991 classes will be introduced for next year, as will be an SPX class for special cars with a performance level between SP2 and A6 (GT3) cars. The existing touring car classes D2, A3T, A4 and A5 will be combined into a new A3 class. Classes A2 and D1 will remain unaffected.

Separate TCR class in place for 2016

Dubai 24h2CREVENTIC reached an agreement with Marcello Lotti, initiator and promoter of the TCR Series, one of the success stories in motorsport in 2015, to create a class to TCR regulations and using the TCR’s ‘balance of performance’ (BOP) from 2016. “TCR is growing quickly, with no less than 16 national and regional series announced for 2016, on top of the TCR International series, and an ever-increasing number of cars from various manufacturers becoming available,” Gerrie Willems says. “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with TCR’s Marcello Lotti to use the TCR Series’ regulations and BOP.”

Marcello Lotti says: “We are pleased and proud to have reached an agreement with CREVENTIC to make the TCR cars eligible for the 24H Series that is growing quickly after a successful maiden season. TCR cars have already proven to be exciting to drive in sprint races, but they are also extremely reliable and may be run in long distance races with a reasonable budget, giving more opportunities to teams and drivers to enjoy different experiences. We are looking forward to a long standing and successful cooperation between TCR and the 24H SERIES.”

Maximum service to teams, focus remains on amateur and gentlemen drivers

For 2016, CREVENTIC intends to stick to its philosophy to provide maximum service to the competitors and to create and maintain a friendly, family-like atmosphere in the pits and the paddock. The focus remains on amateur and gentlemen drivers and a maximum of two professional drivers will be allowed on each car for 2016. The current overall teams’ title will be replaced by a touring car teams’ title and a GT teams’ title. Touring car teams and drivers will also be able to score points in the Hankook 24H SILVERSTONE – European touring car edition. “The overall drivers’ title will remain in place and points scored at Silverstone will also count towards this title,” Gerrie Willems continues. “This will make it more interesting for drivers who normally race with GT cars to go back to their roots and try to find a drive with a touring car team for Silverstone to be able to score points there, too. On top of that, we will also introduce a touring car drivers’ title and a GT drivers’ title. For all championships, the five best results of the season will be taken into account. Full regulations will be published on our website in due course.” Information about the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook can be found at www.24hseries.com.

Ben Potter

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